Labour chief was ‘let down’ over tax arrears

Mohammed Jamil
Mohammed Jamil

A leading Labour councillor said he was taken to court over council tax arrears due to a relative not making the payments on his behalf.

Cllr Mohammed Jamil, Labour group leader on Peterborough City Council, said he had entrusted a family member with paying his council tax to give him more responsibility, but that he then failed to make the payments.

Asked his reaction when he found out that the payments had not been made, Cllr Jamil said: “I was not best pleased. It’s not being repeated, I now pay by direct debit.”

The Labour leader added: “I thought I would give the family member a chance to be more responsible. He agreed to it otherwise I would not have done it.”

After two months of payments were missed, Cllr Jamil said he was contacted by the council and told it would be seeking a liability order in court.

This then left him needing to pay off his entire council tax bill of £1,076 for the year in one go, rather than over monthly instalments.

An additional cost of £68 was added to the total.

Cllr Jamil said: “When I found out and they said they have to do this as it’s the process, I said ‘fine, if that’s the process, that’s the process’, and paid straight away.”

The council tax payments were for the 2016/17 financial year, with the court summons coming in autumn last year.

Councillors are banned from voting on budget matters if they are in council tax arrears of more than two months, but voting on the council’s 2017/18 budget did not take place until December last year.

Details of the court summons were revealed in a Freedom of Information (FOI) request to the city council which has been sent on to the Peterborough Telegraph.

The FOI also reveals that five councillors were issued with reminders for missing council tax payments in 2016/17, but that four of them (who are unnamed) “complied with the reminders to the point where no further action was required.”

Meanwhile, the council’s Labour group will have a re-vote on its leader for the next year after its AGM saw a tie between Cllr Jamil and Cllr Ed Murphy on who should get the role. The vote is expected after the General Election.