'My council tax payments were not in arrears' Labour Councillor Kath McGuirk condemns council for reporting her to police

First published in News
Last updated
Times Series: Photograph of the Author by

A Labour councillor reported to police over accusations she voted ‘inappropriately’ in a budget meeting has come forward to deny the claims.

Barnet Borough Council reported West Finchley Labour councillor Kath McGuirk to police accusing her of breaching the Local Government Finance Act.

The authority issued a statement that it believed a member failed to make a proper declaration and voted “inappropriately” on the 2014/15 budget at its full council meeting on March 4.

Barnet Labour group had admitted that one of its members was summonsed over an unpaid £1,400 council tax bill, although Cllr McGuirk has not been named until now.

She said: “Barnet Council mistakenly issued me with demands for council tax arrears and then with a court summons, which I challenged because my payments were in order.

"I would like to emphasise that the summons was not acted on because it was issued in error, and my council tax payments were not in arrears. 

“This culminated in the council asking the police to investigate whether I had broken the law by voting on behalf of the people of West Finchley in a council meeting.

“The council did this in the full knowledge that I was not in arrears of council tax, that my dispute over alleged arrears was upheld and that Capita had written to me apologising.”

Cllr McGuirk has condemned the council and said she regrets “it wasn’t possible” to come forward with an explanation sooner.

She added: "The whole affair raises the question that if Barnet Council can commit errors and mistakes like this against their own councillors, how many other summons and arrears notices are being issued wrongfully in our borough, against people who can hardly be expected to have the knowledge of council procedure necessary to see that the arrears notices are plain wrong?”

Barnet Labour group leader Councillor Alison Moore is calling for a public apology. 

She said: “I think there are serious questions to be asked about what went wrong in this case, how council tax and benefits processes are being handled by Capita on behalf of the council and whether commercial companies are the right people to be dealing with such sensitive services on behalf of residents.

“Given that the monies weren't owed, the council or Capita should be thinking about a public apology.”

Comments (5)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

4:29pm Tue 15 Apr 14

Mrs Angry, Broken Barnet blog says...

Good to see this councillor's name cleared, and clearly disappointing for those who believed in the 'taxdodging' story. Questions must now be asked as to who sanctioned the referral to the police and if political pressure was brought to bear.
Good to see this councillor's name cleared, and clearly disappointing for those who believed in the 'taxdodging' story. Questions must now be asked as to who sanctioned the referral to the police and if political pressure was brought to bear. Mrs Angry, Broken Barnet blog
  • Score: 7

5:33pm Tue 15 Apr 14

Richard Logue says...

Surely an apology from the Times Series to Cllr McGuirk is in order given their uncritical coverage of this situation?
Surely an apology from the Times Series to Cllr McGuirk is in order given their uncritical coverage of this situation? Richard Logue
  • Score: 4

5:46pm Tue 15 Apr 14

Wombatz says...

The Times Series may be fortunate to escape with just an apology since the phrase Tax Dodging Councillor was used in one headline - no speech marks or 'allegedly' either. Could be construed than slightly more than 'uncritical'.
The Times Series may be fortunate to escape with just an apology since the phrase Tax Dodging Councillor was used in one headline - no speech marks or 'allegedly' either. Could be construed than slightly more than 'uncritical'. Wombatz
  • Score: 4

9:45pm Tue 15 Apr 14

Mrs Angry, Broken Barnet blog says...

And oh: where are all those Tory trolls who were so vociferous in their condemnation of the councillor?

If any of them had a sense of honour, they would be here apologising for their comments.

But then if they had any sense of honour, they would not be Tory trolls ...
And oh: where are all those Tory trolls who were so vociferous in their condemnation of the councillor? If any of them had a sense of honour, they would be here apologising for their comments. But then if they had any sense of honour, they would not be Tory trolls ... Mrs Angry, Broken Barnet blog
  • Score: 0

10:18pm Tue 15 Apr 14

Don't Call Me Dave says...

Mrs Angry

As always, you never let the facts get in the way of your sanctimonious claptrap. The fact is that this councillor was served with a summons and the press and public had every right to comment on that. The councillor says the summons was issued in error. The Labour party say it was issued in error. But Barnet Council have not said it was an error. This means either (a) it wasn't an error or (b) it was an error but the council won't admit it for reasons known only to themselves.

The fact that the Police complaint has not been withdrawn and the claim by the councillor that there were reasons (undisclosed) as to why she couldn't speak sooner suggests that there is more than this story than a simple administrative error by the council.

But how dare you criticise those who engage in debate about a matter of some importance in the run up to an election. What is it with you socialists that makes you try and shut down debate just because it doesn't suit your loony left agenda? If it had been a Tory councillor under investigation, you would have been all over this like a rash.
Mrs Angry As always, you never let the facts get in the way of your sanctimonious claptrap. The fact is that this councillor was served with a summons and the press and public had every right to comment on that. The councillor says the summons was issued in error. The Labour party say it was issued in error. But Barnet Council have not said it was an error. This means either (a) it wasn't an error or (b) it was an error but the council won't admit it for reasons known only to themselves. The fact that the Police complaint has not been withdrawn and the claim by the councillor that there were reasons (undisclosed) as to why she couldn't speak sooner suggests that there is more than this story than a simple administrative error by the council. But how dare you criticise those who engage in debate about a matter of some importance in the run up to an election. What is it with you socialists that makes you try and shut down debate just because it doesn't suit your loony left agenda? If it had been a Tory councillor under investigation, you would have been all over this like a rash. Don't Call Me Dave
  • Score: -3

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree