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North Devon Council had to chase up four members for late council tax

By North Devon Journal  |  Posted: October 25, 2012

  • Yvette Gubb and three of her fellow district councillors, who remain anonymous, have had to be sent reminders regarding council tax.

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FOUR members of North Devon Council had to be sent reminder notices by their own authority in the past year after failing to make council tax payments on time.

One of the councillors, Combe Martin ward member Yvette Gubb, has admitted making a late payment.

However, the other three members have chosen not to divulge their names.

Figures obtained by the Journal show that four members of North Devon Council made a late or incomplete council tax payment between September 1, 2011 and August 31, 2012.

The authority says it cannot name the councillors due to Data Protection laws.

One councillor, referred to as Councillor A, made three late payments in the past 12 months – one of which was more than a month overdue.

A payment of £82.31 was 38 days late while two payments of £78 were 24 days and 10 days late respectively.

Another member, referred to as Councillor D, failed to pay a half-yearly council tax instalment of £695 on time.

The member was issued a reminder notice and made the payment five days after it was due.

A member referred to as Councillor B was 13 days late for a payment of £225, while a member referred to as Councillor C made a payment of £158 seven days late.

No members of Torridge District Council made a late or incomplete payment in the past year.

The Journal contacted all 43 members of North Devon Council and asked if they were among the four councillors to make a late payment.

Combe Martin councillor Yvette Gubb admitted making a late payment in the past 12 months but refused to comment on the matter.

And 40 councillors denied they had made a late payment in the past year, despite the council's figures stating that just 39 had paid on time.

Two councillors refused to answer the Journal's question.

The results of the Journal's enquiries do not match North Devon Council's figures.

Robert Oxley, Campaign Manager of the national TaxPayers' Alliance group, said: "If residents can't trust their politicians to cough up for the council tax, how they can trust them to manage the local authority's budgets?

"Chasing people for the non-payment of council tax only serves to add to the council's bills.

"A councillor cannot claim to be a credible representative of the community when their own actions fall well short of what a council asks of its residents."

Mike Mansell, chief executive of North Devon Council, said it was important to take councillors' personal circumstances into account.

He said: "As with anyone else, sometimes late payments do unfortunately occur.

"Of these four councillors, all have paid their outstanding balances, three of which were within two weeks.

"It's also important to put into context the full picture for North Devon, with the authority collecting more than £48 million in council tax payments between September 1, 2011 and August 31, 2012.

"However, during this same period, a total of 17,334 reminder letters were sent out to people across the district who had not paid on time.

"Of course, there is one way that individuals and councillors can reduce the risk of making late payments and that is by setting up a direct debit."

Council tax for an average band D property in North Devon is around £1,540 per year. All members of North Devon Council are paid an annual basic allowance of £4,570.

Comment on page 36.

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  • the_waay  |  November 19 2012, 5:40PM

    That of course should have been 'Devon', not Bristol City...

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  • the_waay  |  November 19 2012, 5:19PM

    If you've received a similar document to this, it's highly likely that Bristol City council's bailiff contractor is about to become considerably more richer than yow. http://tinyurl.com/d7dpm2r http://tinyurl.com/c7gwsqk You can avoid this by...........

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  • the_waay  |  November 19 2012, 5:19PM

    1) Ignoring the bailiffs completely, do not be tricked into opening the door to them. There is no law which says you must deal with bailiffs. 2) If you've outstanding Council Tax owing, pay it directly to the council. 3) If the council refuses payment because it's with the bailiffs, ask them to put it in writing that they're refusing payment. In any event you can pay them on-line, through their website, or by internet banking etc. 4) Bailiffs must leave details of fees and charges you incur for each visit etc. There must be evidence they attended in person. Hand delivered (not posted) documentation. Charging without attending is a "Phantom visit" and an attempt to defraud you. In the event payment is taken by the bailiff for such an offence, this will be fraud. 5) They may bill you around £130 for what's called an "attendance fee" or similar. This would almost certainly be spurious. 6) They may bill you £24.50 for what they term a "redemption fee" or "Head H fee". This would almost certainly be spurious.

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  • Geoff_Crayon2  |  October 27 2012, 10:50PM

    Private bailiff firms contracted to councils, are defrauding members of the public with no opposition from the Government, Local Authorities or the Police. Local news papers will not, for whatever reason, report on this serious issue. They are failing in their duty to raise awareness for the many thousands of victims involved. It seems these crimes will remain covered-up if left to the local press. It therefore must be tackled by members of the public who are prepared to expose our corrupt councils. It has been publicised in the national press and on TV, that R' oss.en,dale.s Ltd, who North Devon Council contract its bailiff services to, is a criminal outfit. Have you been charged Unfair and Hiked-up Enforcement fees by North Devon Council's bailiff contractors R' OSS.E'N,DALE.S Ltd, or Ross & Roberts? This would be in connection with either alleged or actual council tax arrears. Does the council state that they are lawful? Does the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) also state they are lawful? You can enquire by contacting the following email for a second, more seriously considered opinion: nelc.bailiffs@talktalk.net Alternatively or additionally you can register with the following advice website where free guidance can be sought which may potentially save you £hundreds in charges: http://tinyurl.com/7jppcez The following link features the equally crooked private bailiff firm,"Equ .i,ta", detailing a complainant's successful re-claim of nearly £400 of unlawful bailiff fees. Post #45 of this link. The council also offered money for the complainant not to pursue the complaint further. http://tinyurl.com/d49k74g

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  • Stork  |  October 25 2012, 12:25PM

    Egg on face for Councillors. It will come out at some point who they were, and then they will reap the condemnation.

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