Top Fenland councillors faced action over Council Tax
- Credit: Archant
Fenland Council has taken action against two of its top councillors for unpaid council tax, this paper can reveal today.
David Oliver, leader of Wisbech Town Council and a cabinet member of Fenland District Council, has been sent reminder letters for council tax in each of the last three years.
On all those occasions he made an arrangement with the council to pay off the arrears, meaning the council did not need to take court action against him.
Mr Oliver, who is also on the Cambridgeshire police and crime panel and on Wisbech Town Council’s planning committee, said “changing business circumstances” meant some of his council tax payments had been “delayed” but said he had always paid them in full.
Meanwhile, councillor David Connor has been issued a court summons three times for unpaid council tax at two of his properties.
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Mr Connor, who also represents the Conservatives at Cambridgeshire County Council, is on three Fenland Council committees, including planning and licensing.
He was first sent a reminder in June 2014 to pay a council tax bill of £1,500. He was then summoned to court in July 2014 and given a liability order - which is granted by a magistrate so the council can collect the tax - for £1,278.
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By December 2014, he still owed the council £200 and an enforcement agency was instructed to collect the debt. He paid it on January 1 last year.
In spring 2015, Mr Connor was sent a reminder and then a final notice about £1,667 of unpaid council tax. He was summoned to court for £122 of unpaid tax in May and paid it in June 2015.
Action was also taken against Mr Connor, who represents Doddington and Wimblington, for unpaid council tax at a second property.
In April 2014 the council sent him a reminder for £1,648 of tax and was told a tenant was in the property until November that year.
He was then given a reminder in October 2015 for £454 of unpaid tax at that property and a final notice followed in December 2015.
Mr Connor was sent a court summons in December. A liability order was granted in January for £75 which was still unpaid.
In February this year the £75 debt was passed to an enforcement agency and was paid.
And in October 2015, Mr Connor was sent a reminder for £1,113 of unpaid tax. It was paid in December of that year.
We asked Fenland District Council under the Freedom of Information Act for details of councillors who had faced action since 2014/15 for unpaid council tax.
Mr Oliver, who represents Peckover ward for the Conservatives, was first sent a reminder in April 2014 that he owed almost £1,100 in council tax.
A second reminder followed in May that year for £990 and a final notice was sent by the council in June for £900 which was still unpaid.
He then entered an arrangement with the council to pay the tax. A year later, in April 2015 the bill was paid in full.
And in April last year Mr Oliver, Fenland Council’s portfolio holder for community safety and heritage, was sent a reminder for £1,113 of unpaid council tax. The bill was paid fully by March this year.
In this financial year, the leader of Wisbech Town Council was sent a reminder for £1,137 in unpaid tax. An arrangement was agreed in May and a reminder was sent in July.
Mr Oliver said an agreement with the council for unpaid tax had been made because of “changing business circumstances”.
“In order for us to fulfil our obligation to pay our council tax in full, an agreement was entered into and this is no different to any other council tax payer in the same situation,” he said.
The councillor added: “No action has been taken against myself by Fenland District Council as my council tax has always been paid in full.
“Whilst I have on the odd occasion received a reminder for late payment I have always paid my council tax on a monthly basis and always in full.
“Over the last few years our photographic business has seen many changes and challenges including a reduction in turnover, these changing circumstances to our business on occasion have meant occasionally payments were delayed but were always paid.”
Mr Connor has not responded to repeated requests for comment.