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Over the past few weeks, information has been made known as to the number of councillors in Scotland with council tax arrears.
I am not without sympathy. Financial hardship can hit any of us at any time. This may be due to problems we inherit which are beyond our control, or in some cases by deliberately ignoring the situation.
When it comes to standing for the council, I would hope that at the time of putting himself or herself forward for election, any candidate with council tax arrears would not be allowed to stand.
However, I have a feeling that candidates – whether for a particular party or independent – are not vetted. However, this should also be carried out on the basis of the candidates’ past criminal records, ensuring that those standing for office are of good character.
If anyone who incurs unavoidable council tax arrears while serving as a councillor, they should be given every chance to sort the situation out without having to be sanctioned by the council.
However, in life there are those out there who can but won’t pay; those who think it is their prerogative to do as they please.
It is our duty to pay council tax – which I firmly believe should be means-tested, so you pay the amount that your earnings safely allow you to pay. However, if you are a serving councillor who can pay but has not paid, you should not be allowed to carry on in office.
None of us is above the law. We all have to contribute to public services which at the present time have never been so badly stretched financially.
Why does the council’s finance department allow council tax arrears to accumulate to the level that some of them are? I think it is about time it shared the blame of this shambolic situation as, after all, it is the department which enforces and monitors the situation.