Cllr Claire Jeffrey (Con) (middle) failed to pay her initial Council Tax reminder in 2015/16. Cllr Jeffrey received one Council Tax reminder and received a summons after payment was not made. The amount she was summonsed for was £141.16. Cllr Jeffrey was not barred from voting as she paid the amount before going to court. This information was obtained via an FOI request.
Cllr Jeffrey is the third Cllr who failed to pay their Council Tax after receiving a reminder and a summons. The other two former SDC Cllrs were Emily Arnold (Con) and David Wimble (Con).
In recent weeks Cllr Claire Jeffrey has been mired in controversy because she ‘crossed the floor’ from the Labour Party to the Conservatives. However, Cllr Jeffrey is not the only Cllr to have crossed the floor.
Our Current Mayor, Martin Salmon (left), went from the Lib Dems to the Conservatives. Our Former Mayor, SDC & Town Councillor Cllr Emily Arnold crossed the floor from the Lib Dems to Conservatives. Cllr Peter Gane to moved from the Lib Dems to People First, back to the Lib Dems, back to People first then to the Conservatives. Former Cllr Anthony Dunning Lib Dems to the Conservatives. Cllr Sue Wallace, Lib Dems to the Conservatives. Cllr Bryan Copping from Lib Dems to People First. Cllr Terry Mullard, Conservative to UKIP.
Councillor Jeffrey follows in a long tradition of Cllrs crossing the floor and we understand, that no by-elections took place. Cllr Jeffrey may well have betrayed her constituents who elected her, but she has not done anything wrong by crossing the floor. It appears she follows in a long and noble tradition. What she is guilty of is not paying her council tax on time and being summonsed.
We note that at Full Council – 18 February 2016 Cllr Claire Jeffrey asked the following question to Cllr Susan Carey (Con)
By Councillor Claire Jeffrey of Councillor to Cllr Susan Carey, (Con) Cabinet Member for Finance
What is the lowest amount of individual household Council Tax owed to Shepway District Council, excluding the cost of the summons, that has resulted in a summons being issued in the current financial year 2015/16 and what was the lowest amount of individual household Council Tax owed to the Council that resulted in a summons being issued in 2014/15?
Cllr Carey’s (left) response was:
Shepway District Council has a special role to play on behalf of all public services that are funded by council tax in calculating and collecting the amount required from each household. The legislation covering this is the council tax (Administration and Enforcement) Regulations 1992 SI 613. This sets out the process that the council must follow when payment is not received by the due date.
Put simply, we send a reminder letter after 10 days and a summons is issued if payment is still not received. If part payment is made after the reminder a second reminder is issued and a summons issued if full payment is not made.
This is the legal requirement but of course Shepway’s officers will do more than this to try to reach an agreement so that a summons does not need to be issued and give advice to people about any reductions to which they may be entitled. In particular if a debt is below £100 we send an extra letter which explains that a summons can cost up to £125. If there is still no contact or payment a summons is then issued.
The level at which Shepway issues a summons is £60 but it may subsequently be found the amount due is less if the person who has not paid is entitled to a reduction.
Four summonses were issued for £60 in 2014/15 and three in 2015/16. Of these three two were paid before the court hearing and the third is due to go to court on 26 February.
A summons is never issued lightly and the officers will make every effort to help those who owe avoid having to go to court.
You can see the PDF below. It is question 5
Perhaps this question was inspired by her own Council Tax debt she had with SDC. If you would like to know the answer then you can contact Cllr Jeffrey on