Leeds City Council uses taxpayers' cash to fund legal bid against ruling

LEEDS Council has disclosed further information about councillors who failed to pay their Council Tax on time while guarding the identity of others who received summonses.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 16th December 2016, 10:52 am
Updated Saturday, 17th December 2016, 8:18 am

The council had initially said Roundhay Labour councillor Ghulam Hussain and Labour colleague Jonathan Pryor, who represents Headingley, had been made the subject of liability orders and required to make payment by a court but declined to say the amounts involved or identify other councillors in the same position.

It has now disclosed Asghar Khan, Labour councillor for Burmantofts and Richmond Hill, was required to pay £798 including court costs for non-payment during 2014/15.

It said Coun Khan, who received £25,087 in allowances for his council work in 2014/15, had been issued with a summons in joint names with his business partner who it said had taken on responsibility for council tax bills on their properties.

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Coun Khan, who immediately settled the outstanding amount in full, added: “I am sincerely sorry for this totally unacceptable oversight.

“I will now take full responsibility to ensure all future council tax bills are paid on time and in full.”

The council revealed Coun Hussain had received four separate liability orders on properties he owned, one in 2014/15 and three in 2015/16, after being summonsed for totals ranging from £150.86 to £1,219.34.

It said the summonses related to properties owned by the councillor but leased as part of his landlord business.

Coun Hussain, who received an allowance of £24,425.36 from the council in 2015/16, previously apologised for non-payment, for which he made no excuses, and said he had made arrangements to ensure it wouldn’t happen in future.

Coun Pryor, who received an allowance of £23,392.63 last year, was given a liability order after being summonsed to pay £247.23 in 2014/15 and another one after being billed for an outstanding amount of £983.86 in 2015/16.

He said: “I apologise for what was an unacceptable oversight which occurred as I moved house in 2015. I paid in full as soon as I was aware and have now set up a direct debit to ensure it doesn’t happen again.”

Leeds tops list of summonses

A total of 38 councillors across the region of Yorkshire were summonsed for non-payment of council tax over the last two financial years.

Leeds and Bradford had the highest number of councillors receiving summonses with eight.

Kirklees had six members who were summonsed.

There were three at East Riding Council and at Hull, two at Scarborough and North East Lincolnshire councils plus one councillor each at Sheffield, Rotherham, Craven, Richmondshire, Doncaster and North Lincolnshire councils.