A MAJOR nationwide probe has revealed that some Cumbrian councillors failed to pay their council tax on time - and had to be reminded to stump up the cash.

While thousands of tax-paying residents of Carlisle, Allerdale and Copeland settled up on time, some of their elected representatives were not so diligent.

And today we can reveal a total of seven councillors in Copeland and Carlisle failed to pay on time.

Allerdale declined to provide a detailed breakdown of the offenders, only revealing how many letters it had sent to councillors.

The damning figures came to light following an enquiry by Newsquest’s Data Investigations Unit.

Between 2015 and 2018, four Copeland councillors failed to pay their bills on time, while eight late payments were received from Allerdale Council and five from Carlisle City Council.

Allerdale Council had to send out summons to three councillors, while Carlisle City Council issued summons to one.

The Local Government Finance Act bars a councillor from voting on the council’s budget and determining council tax if they have an outstanding council tax debt of over two months.

However, no councillors from the three local authorities were banned from voting due to non-payment.

A spokesman for Copeland Council said: “We will not comment on private financial matters relating to individual councillors.”

Three of the four who made late payments from Copeland are no longer councillors.

A spokesman for Allerdale Council said: “We regularly monitor payments received for council tax and treat council members no differently than ordinary members of the public. The council has a robust policy on council tax and will take action against those people who have not paid their bills.

“The council makes every effort to accommodate people in making their payments and if someone is struggling we ask that they contact us for help and guidance about steps which can be taken. People can also set up a direct debit and register for paperless billing to make paying easier..”

A spokesman for Carlisle City Council said: “The Council collects council tax on behalf of all the authorities in Carlisle, we do not comment on individual Council Tax accounts. We have a rigorous collection process and work hard to pursue arrears, last year we collected 97.4 per cent of the council tax owed to the council.’

The Minister for Local Government – MP Luke Hall – has urged councillors to ensure they inspired trust by paying their bills on time and doing their bit to pay for local services.

“All residents, including councillors, should pay their council tax to help fund our precious local services.”