NLC tight-lipped on council tax debtors

Alan Beveridge has concerns about councillors who owe the council money
Alan Beveridge has concerns about councillors who owe the council money

North Lanarkshire Council has stayed tight-lipped on which councillors are in council tax arrears.

An Freedom of Information request by the BBC found that a total of 32 councillors in 13 local authorities owed a combined £140,000; including four in North Lanarkshire who owed a total of £20,000.

Independent councillor Alan Beveridge submitted standing order questions about the matter at the full council meeting last week.

He wished to know which councillors were in debt, which political parties they belonged to, how the £20,000 was split between them and how long have council officials known about the debt.

These were answered by the convener of the Organisational Business committee Tom Fisher who told Councillor Beveridge that council tax debt is pursued in the same manner for all individuals and for the sake of the privacy of the elected members involved he would not reveal their names or party affiliation.

Councillor Beveridge: “I had no expectations about what answer I would receive, but I did anticipate a little more openness and transparency.”

Councillor Beveridge believes that those who owe the council money should not be able to stand for election.

He said: “This isn’t about embarrassing anyone, pretty much everyone has some kind of debt these days so there is no stigma involved.

“However, I have to ask if it is right that people who owe the local authority money should be in a position to vote on budgetary matters at the council.”