Revealed: The identities of two Luton councillors who were summoned to court over non-payment of council tax

Cllrs Asma Rathore (left) and Jacqui Burnett were pursued by the council over non-payment of council tax
Cllrs Asma Rathore (left) and Jacqui Burnett were pursued by the council over non-payment of council tax

An executive member of Luton Borough Council is among two councillors who were summoned to court over non-payment of council tax, the Herald & Post can exclusively reveal.

Following a Freedom of Information request, this newspaper found that in the last five years two elected representatives of the council had received court summons for failing to pay council tax.

In its response to the FOI request LBC refused to name the two councillors, despite a recent Upper Tier Tribunal ruling that local authorities should do so when requested under the Freedom of Information Act.

At the time LBC told us: “We do not disclose this type of information in relation to any other council tax payer so we should not do so for councillors”.

However the council has now reversed its decision and the Herald & Post can reveal that the two councillors concerned are Jacqui Burnett and Asma Rathore.

Both are serving Labour members and Cllr Burnett has a seat in LBC’s executive committee as the portfolio holder for people and places.

Cllr Rathore, who represents the Saints ward, sits on the council’s audit and governance commmittee.

She is also a former deputy mayor of the town.

The council has said that in both cases the councillors were in debt for more than two months and received either a court summons or liability order.

No debts are currently outstanding.

An LBC spokesperson told the Herald & Post: “We sought legal advice immediately after getting the enquiry.

“Once this advice was received we felt it was only right to alert the affected councillors that we will be releasing their names.

“We’ve since found out that other councils around the country are also in the process of absorbing this new legal judgement.”

In addition to details about court summons, the Herald & Post revealed that in the last five years Luton Borough Council has sent 13 reminder notices to ten of its own councillors.

Details of the reminders sent out show that since May 2011 the council has had to chase up its own elected representatives over £2,534.62 in unpaid taxes.

The amounts range from £25.04 up to £354.39 and most of the reminders were issued in 2014 (five out of thirteen).

More to follow...