Councillors have been failing to pay their council tax.

The Examiner can reveal councillors have ended up in the dock after racking up thousands of pounds of debt between them in the past two years.

Five have been summoned to court for non-payment, one of which owed almost £1,200.

A court summons only occurs after several reminders to pay are ignored.

A further nine councillors have been issued reminders for not coughing up their bills in a timely manner and getting into arrears.

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In all, 14 councillors have been issued warnings for late payment over the past 24 months – a fifth of all Kirklees councillors.

The information has been passed to the Examiner by a source who applied for details using Freedom of Information law.

The names of the councillors have been anonymised but Kirklees Council lawyers are currently considering the Examiner’s request to release them.

The details revealed so far show “Cllr F” owed the most money to Kirklees.

A Kirklees Council meeting

Despite four reminders in 2014/15, he or she failed to pay their share and were slapped with a court date.

A summons for £1,186.16 was issued – which includes Kirklees’ costs for recovering the debt.

Sometime in 2015/16 “Cllr M” was issued with a court summons twice, firstly for £172 and then for £977.77.

“Cllr E” was reported to court for £870.34 after they failed to pay their outstanding bills.

“Cllr G” didn’t pay and ended up with a court summons for £763.53.

Bizarrely, “Cllr I” was summoned to court for just £27.74.

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

The total debt over the past two financial years was £3,997.54.

The figures show in 2014/15 the council had to issue its own councillors with reminders of non-payment on 17 occasions and in 2015/16 on 16 occasions.

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The Examiner has applied for details of any court hearings that happened following the summons.

People who are summoned can avoid appearing in court if they settle the bill immediately.

The shocking level of non-payment by councillors – who themselves have a say on council tax levels for everyone else in the borough – comes a year after Deputy Leader of Kirklees Council, Clr Jean Calvert, appeared in the dock for a council tax related matter.

Clr Jean Calvert

In January 2014 the Ashbrow member was summoned to Bradford Magistrates Court after defaulting on her council tax payments in 2012 and 2013 whilst a member of the council.

The case against her was based on laws surrounding councillors voting on financial matters while being in arrears on their own accounts.

But she was found not guilty of two counts of breaking Section 106 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992 after her defence that she did not know of the law was accepted by a judge.

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Fellow Labour member, Clr Mohan Sohkal is also on record as admitting he has been in council tax arrears in the past.

Both Clr Calvert and Sohkal’s cases pre-date the latest information.

A spokesperson for Kirklees Council said council employees were treated no differently to members of the public.

FACTFILE:

Council tax can be paid in monthly installments or in full.

Annual costs in Kirklees vary from £1,015 per year for the smallest homes to £3,118 for the biggest mansions.

Non payment on the due date automatically triggers a reminder letter, which is followed by another reminder and then a summons.

Summons include the council’s legal costs on top of the owed council tax.

If a summons is not contested at court the council can recover the cash directly from earnings or through deduction of benefits.

Kirklees, like all councils, has been encouraging residents to set up direct debits to pay the bill but the facility to make one off payments online, over the phone and at Post Offices and Paypoints still exists.