Bolton's party leaders react as we reveal how two councillors twice failed to pay their council tax
THE leaders of Bolton’s three main political parties have spoken about the revelations two councillors did not pay their council tax for two years running.
Cllr Cliff Morris, leader of Bolton Council and Labour leader, said he was “disappointed” the Labour councillor had not told him of their problems.
He said: “We have a responsibility, as councillors, to assure our financial affairs are up-to-date and above board.
“In this case, the two councillors in question did not go into a budget-setting council meeting with any debt as all councillors are reminded of this before the meeting. The fact that they had not paid their council tax over a certain period of time is a matter between them and the council. The Data Protection Act applies to them just as much as anyone else.
“I am disappointed that the Labour councillor didn’t consult me but, at the end of the day, we are all grown ups.
“I will be asking the members of our group and I would hope the person in question will tell me something. But, if their accounts are up to date, I consider the matter closed.”
BOLTON Conservative leader, Cllr David Greenhalgh, said the councillors’ actions were unacceptable — but that they do not deserve public vilification.
He added: “It is very difficult to comment when you are not in full possession of all the facts but, if it is the case, that there are two existing councillors who, over a period of two years, have failed to pay their council tax, then clearly this is unacceptable, and not setting the right example to the residents they represent.
“However, I am mindful that anyone, even politicians, who most people love to hate, can have financial difficulties. If those two councillors have now paid off their arrears or are on a payment plan, they are addressing their problems and they, like any other member of the public who, for whatever reason, is struggling to make payments, do not deserve to be publicly vilified.”
BOLTON Liberal Democrat leader Roger Hayes criticised the two councillors who were summonsed to court for non-payment — but said it was difficult to judge without knowing their circumstances.
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