One of the councillors sent a warning for non-payment of council tax has said his case was a banking error.

The Examiner revealed yesterday a shocking level of non-payment of council tax by councillors.

In the past two years a total of 14 have received reminder letters warning them they haven’t paid their bills.

More worryingly, the council has been forced to issue court summons to five of the 14 after they ignored the warnings.

The Examiner has been told two of the 14 who fell into arrears are Labour councillors, but their identities are currently unknown.

Ex-Lib Dem councillor David Ridgway, who lost his Colne Valley seat in the recent local elections, has revealed he received a threatening letter from Kirklees Council in March saying he owed £121.

Nick Lavigueuer speaks about the shocking news

Video thumbnail, Nick on Five Kirklees Council councillors in the dock for not paying their council tax
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He says his bank statement proves he paid the bill and Kirklees has admitted it has “lost the money.”

And he has blasted his former colleagues as “outrageous” for representing the public yet being unable to manage their own finances.

“I received a warning,” said the former Mayor. “It’s quite a heavy letter; it’s quite frightening.

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“Many of my ex-constituents complained to me about the tone of it and how threatening it is but I have paid my dues.

“The hounds have been leashed.

“I paid it by bank transfer and it all went through – my bank account showed it had all been paid.

“But then I got a letter saying if I don’t pay we’re going to see you in court.

“I contacted Kirklees and they can’t find the money. As far as I’m aware they still don’t know what happened to it.

“If my payment has gone missing it might have happened to others.”

Former councillor Ridgway said if the other transgressions turned out to not be mistakes then it was “outrageous.”

“It’s unbelievable, he added. “A person who puts themselves up for election and then doesn’t pay their dues – it’s heinous, it’s outrageous!

A chart showing the council tax owed by 14 Kirklees Council councillors

“It’s a matter of public embarrassment.”

Recently ousted Labour leader Clr David Sheard said he had been made aware of the council tax dodgers last month and had discovered two were Labour councillors.

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“I asked the whip (Clr Mohan Sohkal) to ask them why they were behind and I said they should pay immediately.

“One came in and one didn’t.”

Clr Sheard said he was shocked at the amounts that his colleagues owed, revealed yesterday to be several hundred pounds, and in one case over a thousand pounds.

And he said while there were no rules on councillors being sacked for non-payment he said they should “look at their own conscience” as to whether they were fit to represent the public.

“It’s just wrong that people are not paying their rates.” he added.

Lib Dem leader, Clr Nicola Turner, said she had been told none of the issues were with her party’s councillors and said the names of the offenders ought to be published.

“I do think think we need this to be transparent,” she said

Clr Nicola Turner, leader of the Kirklees Liberal Democrat group

“All 69 of us are getting tarred with the same brush.”

Clr Turner said the council needed to launch an inquiry, adding that it was “disgraceful” that any councillor who failed to pay council tax could continue in their job.

On top of ex-councillor Ridgway a further four councillors have told the Examiner they are not among those implicated.

They are Clr Martyn Bolt, Clr Andrew Cooper, Clr Michael Watson and Clr Amanda Pinnock.

Leader elect of Kirklees Council Clr Shabir Pandor said it would be “inappropriate to speculate or comment” on the matter at the moment.

Kirklees Council lawyers are still considering whether to name those who have been brought before the courts.