Private Eye magazine have compiled an interactive map (see below) which is the result of Freedom of Information Act (FoI) requests to the 377 local authorities in England, Scotland and Wales that process council tax payments.
They requested data relating to council tax payments due in the 2015-16 tax year and specifically asked how many councillors received reminder letters, how many were summonsed to court, how many of those cases went ahead and how many councillors were subsequently banned from voting on their council’s budget.
As you can see if you click on the map there is one Wirral Councillor who is named and shamed.
That is Labour councillor Treena Johnson. Yes , we have a councillor called Treena.
As Her Ladyship said : “Treena? – sounds as though one of Barbie’s best mates has thrown off the shackles of female oppression and run off to join the Wallasey Constituency Labour Party to fight for equality!”
Apparently Cllr Treena was summonsed after a Council Tax payment of £332.99 was not made . Interestingly we also learned that the “Local Government Finance Act forbids councillors from voting on the council’s budget – and determining the council tax – if they themselves have missed payments for two consecutive months and have not taken action to remedy the problem. The act states that such councillors either have to stay away from the meetings or, if they want to show up, they must stand up before their peers and explain why they cannot vote. Failure to take those steps is a criminal offence and can result in a maximum fine of £1,000 at a magistrates’ court.”
However Cllr Treena wasn’t barred from voting as she paid the money that was due to Wirral Council before she got to court. No doubt this was an oversight , a misunderstanding or an unfortunate mistake on her part and in the scheme of things nothing approaching the misconduct of some of her Labour councillor comrades. However it is still a bit of an embarrassment isn’t it ?.