Former Tower Hamlets Mayor received court summons for non-payment of council tax

Cllr Ahmed Omer

Cllr Ahmed Omer - Credit: Archant

A former Mayor of Tower Hamlets received a court summons during the past year for failing to pay council tax, it has emerged.

Cllr Ahmed Omer can be revealed as the representative referred to in a freedom of information request into whether any councillors received a summons for non-payment in the financial year ending April 2013.

When asked whether he was the member in question, Cllr Omer responded: “I’m not denying that but the matter’s been reviewed fully and I have paid all my council tax.

“The whole thing is dealt with and is finished. It’s an arrangement between me and the local authority.”

Failure to maintain such payments prevents councillors voting on town hall budgets under local government legislation.

But a council spokesperson said the summons did not coincide with the budget vote in March, and that Cllr Omer did vote.

Despite rumours to the contrary, Labour confirmed Cllr Omer – who was ceremonial mayor of Tower Hamlets in 2009/10 - remained a member of the group. In a statement, a the group hinted at “personal difficulties” explaining the non-payment.

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“The Labour Party believes it is unacceptable for councillors not to meet their obligations, particularly paying their council tax,” it said.

“Where a councillor has underlying personal difficulties, we have a duty to see whether there is a resolution which allows them to resolve these and return to the position where they meet the standards rightly expected of them by the public.”

Robert Oxley, who is campaign manager for public spending pressure group the TaxPayers’ Alliance sympathised with difficulties in keeping up with council tax payments.

But he added: “Local politicians should set an example and pay on time, not create further bills for taxpayers who will foot the legal bill for any court action.”