December 10 2013 Latest news:
Thursday, October 3, 2013
A UKIP county councillor summonsed to court for failing to pay his council tax is demanding that Fenland District Council pays his travel expenses for making the 42-mile round trip.
Councillor Paul Clapp – who represents Wisbech North on Cambridgeshire County Council – has already been repaid his £70 costs by the council “as a goodwill gesture.”
Cllr Clapp found himself summons to court because he made his September council tax payment three days days late, because he had just come out of hospital.
But he was still required to attend Peterborough Magistrates’ Court on September 25, where a council official told him he had no case to answer and had no need to stand before the bench.
Cllr Clapp said. “I will be asking for my expenses for attending court to be paid by the council.
“After making a request, I have already been refunded the £70 costs payment.”
Cllr Clapp claims he received his court summons on September 4, for failing to make a payment on September 1.
That day he paid £101, and on September 24 he paid another £150, to meet his October council tax bill.
Cllr Clapp is angry that Fenland District Council failed to cancel his court summons after he made a payment.
“It was a waste of my time,” he said. “I had to go back to hospital two days later for a surgical procedure.
“The council’s protocol says they can give you up to the tenth day of the month to pay at their discretion, but they failed to cancel my summons.”
A spokesman for Fenland District Council said: “Cllr Clapp was summonsed to court for not regularly paying his council tax on time each month.
council tax payments are due on the first day of each month, and where they are not paid a reminder notice is issued.
“Where a customer continues to pay only after a reminder notice is issued, their instalment plan will be cancelled and the remainder of this year’s council tax becomes due. If it still remains unpaid, they are summonsed to court and the court can grant a liability order, which allows the council to recover the money owed.
“In this case, Cllr Mr Clapp has brought these payments up to date, so as a goodwill gesture we have cancelled the costs we had charged him in connection with the summons.
“We remind everyone that it is important to pay council tax on time as requested, and to contact us as soon as possible if you are having difficulties paying, so that we can agree a payment arrangement. Doing nothing could lead to additional costs.”