I want my money back!……
……..and so do a few others.
I pay my council tax, year in year out, it’s a painful process because year in year out South Tyneside Council wants to spend a bit more money than they wanted to last year, hence it costs me more. One of the many reasons that they want, or need, to spend more is because insurance premiums inevitably carry on rising, as they do, another is the fact that they have problems from time to time in collecting debts, arrears or other revenues, and one such amount which comes under these categories is legal costs.
Our council has to pay a princely sum to insure itself (on our behalf) against the high costs of litigation brought by complainants, whether or not those claims are justified or deemed to be frivolous, and following the well publicised electoral petition brought by Ahmed Khan following his close defeat in the election for a Beacon and Bents ward councillor in 2007 the council has been, as yet, unable to fully recover the costs that a judge awarded against Khan. These costs are owed to us the council tax payer.
Councillor Khan is still disputing the size of the legal bills ran up by the Returning Officer in that failed petition despite coming to a decision to drop the action, the costs are reputed to be in the region of £30000 pounds, and in these times of strict financial probity I can guess that quite a few community groups are currently bemoaning the fact that this year’s Christmas Party for pensioners, or summer outing for deprived children may not be able to go ahead as the council trims its budgets and refuses grant aid. If I were the parent of a child who has lost out on a trip to the Lakes or Alton Towers I would be rather upset knowing that the council has so far failed to fully recover that £30000 from Cllr. Khan.
Khan, by the admissions published in his latest newsletter to the residents of the Beacon and Bents ward (see below), has been removing funds from his business Simply Workwear in Westoe, South Shields, to help finance his various legal challenges and his indebtedness to the council tax payers, that is you and I. Now, if I had spent almost three years chasing after money owed to me, I would be demanding some extra to cover the amount of lost interest that I might have earned by keeping that cash in an investment account, the same principles ought to be applied by the sundry businesses who are owned substantial amounts of cash by Khan’s limited liability company Simply Workwear and who have had to expend further cash in applying for numerous County Court Judgements against his company.
By failing to satisfy his creditors Khan is jeopardising jobs, not just in his own company, but also in those to whom he owes money, one of which is a local business operating in our community, and yet one cannot help but feel that the South Tyneside Independent Alliance deputy leader is sneering at us all by dragging his feet over the payment of costs owed to us (via South Tyneside Council).
I have previously written that I do not believe that it is morally right or defensible for a person with such a poor track record of supervising his own, or his company’s cash or assets, to be in a position of stewarding MY council tax revenues and expenditure, and nor do I think that it is morally acceptable for my local council to be allowing one of its elected members to continue sitting on its deliberating committees when he owes so much to the council tax payers. I continue to be astonished that the other members of the South Tyneside Independent Alliance are willing to sit in a group with a deputy leader who owes the sort of cash that would clean up a derelict corner of land or light up a back lane! Do they care at all about the reputation of their group, or the small projects that could be lost because of Khan’s non compliance?
Therefore I call upon the movers and shakers within South Tyneside Council, the Chief Executive, the Returning Officer, and the council’s political leader to move swiftly to put matters right and enforce the immediate repayment of costs owed to us by Cllr, Khan, the impasse has dragged on long enough now, and I WANT MY MONEY BACK!
Cllr. Jane Branley leader of the South Tyneside Independent Alliance, if she has any real respect for council tax payers, should strip Khan of his position and title and seek his resignation from the council with immediate effect, he could then seek to emulate the exploits of her husband Cllr. Alan Branley by announcing himself as a candidate for the vacant seat, and even offer to pay the costs of the election.
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