'It's obviously very disturbing' - Council leader speaks out after member reported to police (From This Is Local London)
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'It's obviously very disturbing' - Barnet Borough Council leader Cllr Richard Cornelius speaks out after member reported to police
Barnet Borough Council's leader has said he is “very disappointed” a member at the forefront of a council tax scandal has not come forward to offer an explanation.
Councillor Richard Cornelius said he found it "disturbing" the councillor has not revealed their identity, despite Barnet Borough Council reporting them to the Metropolitan Police for a potential breach of the Local Government Finance Act.
The authority believes the member failed to make an appropriate declaration and voted “inappropriately” on the 2014/15 budget at the full council meeting on March 4.
Section 106 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992 prohibits members from voting on council tax setting, administration and enforcement if their council tax payment “becomes payable and remains unpaid” for two or more months.
Cllr Cornelius told the Times Series: “It’s obviously very disturbing and it’s rather sad that the councillor hasn’t come forward and explained themselves.
“There are only three explanations – they deliberately didn’t pay, didn’t pay because of an oversight or didn’t pay because they were in a dispute – and if they’re not coming forward it’s not likely to be the third.”
Cllr Cornelius told the Times Series he has been “sworn to secrecy” and cannot reveal the name of the councillor, although he believes the councillor should reveal their own identity.
Speaking about the feeling among other members, he said: “We’re pretty annoyed because councillors cannot vote in these matters if they have not paid they’re council tax – we all know that.
“I’m very disappointed. I think it’s a really very difficult situation that needs to be resolved rapidly."
But he admitted the council's hands are now tied as it waits for the outcome of police investigations.
He added: “The council can do nothing other than report it to the police and it’s for the police to decide if they’re going to take further action.”
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