Why aren’t Glasgow’s councillors paying their council tax?

Nobody likes the council tax and I can’t exactly say I’ve always been in a position to pay it on time – but news that members of our very own City Council don’t seem capable of stumping up to fund local services is more than a bit galling.  Figures revealed by the Evening Times suggest 27 members of Glasgow City Council have been sent late payment notices for non-payment of council tax over the last 2 years.

“How could this have happened?” we hear you ask.  We’re sure it’s definitely NOT because our councillors are a bunch of incompetent tax dodgers, so here are a few other theories…

They’re giving all their money to striking workers

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If members of the council are acting like they’re hard up, spare a thought for some of Glasgow City Council others employees, like the homeless case workers who’ve just been on strike for 17 weeks over pay and conditions.  Maybe our councillors have fallen behind because they’ve been so busy drumming up support for those on strike, who finally won most of their demands this week.  When it comes to paying council tax, GCC sources had previously been at pains to point out that, “The more people are able to pay on time, the better we can plan and resource the services that are important to us all – such as education, the environment, jobs and targeted support for the most vulnerable people in our communities.”  Yet despite collection rates being at an all time high (amongst non-councillors anyway), it’s taken GCC 17 weeks to properly resource a service to support the most vulnerable.  Better late than never though, as the council’s beloved Debt Management Department probably never say.

They’ve started a mass non-payment campaign

It could be that our councillors are leading a rebellion to overthrow the Tory Government by refusing to pay a fundamentally unfair tax.  The council tax isn’t based on ability to pay and the difference between what you pay to live in a castle compared with your average house is only about 2:1.  Given that the poll tax was defeated with a bit of rioting and a mass campaign of non-payment, maybe Glasgow is now in the midst of a similar rebellion.  This must be what Gordon Matheson means when he keeps talking about “radical localism.”

They have actually paid but got sent letters anyway

Special menshie for this one because they actually used it, the council pointed out it’s entirely possible they sent late payment letters to councillors who had actually paid.   The tacit acceptance that many late payment letters may be libellous spam or the result of system errors doesn’t do much to restore faith in the council; it makes a system where 27 of 75 councillors are being chased for payments they might even have made seem like much more of a shambles.

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They’re putting money aside for a rainy day

Most specifically, Thursday 4th May 2017, the date of the next local elections.  With as many as 15 of Labour’s 45 sitting councillors already considering washing their hair that day, perhaps some are now looking to life after the city chambers.  And with only their pensions, their commercial interests and their positions on Arms Length External Organisations to see them through the lean years, who could blame our local representatives for setting aside a bit of cash for when it all comes crashing down?

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Further Reading:

Lolitician of the Year: Ten Gordon Matheson fails since 2013

Glasgow City Council Clamp Down on Sitting Outside

Would closing the Arches make Glasgow safer?

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