Councillors in Kirklees have hit out at the “idiotic” suggestion that they need a code of conduct over paying their bills.
Following the Ratesgate scandal that revealed six councillors have been sent court summons over non-payment of council tax, Labour leader Clr Shabir Pandor, revealed his plan.
Four of the five named offenders were Labour councillors, while a sixth has been protected from identification as they are no longer a serving councillor. One was Conservative.
Clr Pandor said that he would “ask the council to develop and adopt very clear protocols and codes of conduct around council tax that all political parties can sign up to.”
Lindley Tory, Clr Gemma Wilson, said she was offended at the notion that councillors needed to extra direction to pay their council tax.
“It’s an idiotic suggestion that we need a code to remind councillors to pay their council tax,” she said.
“I don’t think it’s necessary.
“Members of the public just know you have to pay it and it’s the same for us.
“Councillors should be paying their council tax like everyone else.
“We don’t need a code of conduct for something that we’re legally supposed to do anyway.
“This is just a way of deflecting from his councillors’ failure to pay and his own failed political judgement in getting to grips with the seriousness of the situation.
“To me a code of conduct would be expected for things like attending group meetings or treating people with respect.
“A code of conduct just to pay our council tax shouldn’t be necessary because it’s legally due.”
Clr Wilson also called into question the use of council officer time writing a code of conduct at a time when Kirklees’ budgets are already stretched.
Meanwhile Kirkburton Conservative, Clr John Taylor, said Clr Pandor’s comments were “very ill advised”.
He said: “The public have made it very clear that they already expect councillors to set an example and no one should need any further ‘protocols’ to tell them that they need to pay their council taxes just like all council taxpayers are expected to.
“The code of conduct Clr Pandor should be thinking about is the existing code of conduct which calls for councillors to act with honesty and integrity at all times and it is quite clear that councillors Calvert and Pinnock broke that code when denying that they had been summonsed for overdue council tax payments.”