Sunderland councillors were given summons over unpaid council tax

Councillor Paul Middleton.
Councillor Paul Middleton.
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Two Wearside councillors were sent court summons notices over unpaid council tax, it has been revealed.

A Freedom of Information request of all councils in England by the satirical magazine Private Eye uncovered which elected officials were sent reminders for overdue payments.

Councillor Anthony Allen.

Councillor Anthony Allen.

A total of five councillors were sent reminders for overdue council tax payments.

But summons were served on Houghton’s Copt Hill councillor Anthony Allen and Washington South representative Paul Middleton.

Independent Coun Allen owed £728.46 while Labour’s Coun Middleton owed £953.28 to the authority.

Both councillors paid up before being taken to court.

Sunderland Civic Centre.

Sunderland Civic Centre.

The overdue payments were for the most recent financial year, 2015/16.

Coun Middleton explained his late payment to the Echo by saying that it refers to a house he used to own.

“This is off a few years ago in relation to an old house I used to have,” he said.

“It was a build up of old council tax which I thought had been cleared but it hadn’t.

“There was obviously some money still to pay but there was nothing untoward about it at all.

“I just wasn’t aware of it and it was the culmination of not paying. But I’ve paid it now and it’s all settled.”

Coun Allen said simply: “It was just an oversight.”

Peterlee West councillor Jan Measor, who sits on Durham County Council was taken to court over an unpaid council tax bill of £1,179.34.

As a result of being taken to court, Coun Measor was was barred from voting on council budget proposals.

Coun Measor was not available for comment.

A total of nine reminders were sent to councillors on Durham County Council for late payment of council tax.

A spokesman for Sunderland City Council said: “The vast majority of Sunderland residents have an excellent record of paying their Council Tax bills.

“The council has processes and procedures for collecting any outstanding sums and our collection rates are traditionally high.”

John Hewitt, Durham County Council’s corporate director for resources, said: “We treat everyone equally when it comes to issuing council tax reminder letters and pursuing court action for unpaid bills.

“All residents are given equal opportunity to make arrangements to pay what they owe in manageable amounts.”