A COUNCILLOR could take no part in a heated meeting where a council tax rise was approved because of his own unpaid bill for more than £5,000, the Chronicle can reveal.

It is a strict condition that members taking part in the annual budget meeting - which this year approved more than £600m of spending - must be up to date with their own payments.

But a Chronicle investigation has revealed Rockingham councillor David White has been taken to court by Barnsley Council over his arrears and was ineligible to attend or speak at the meeting two weeks ago.

Coun White confirmed this was the case and told the Chronicle: “I am indeed in arrears with my council tax, which started some three years ago when I had a medical condition that hospitalised me for seven weeks and took 12 months of recuperation.

“I was unable to work and received no benefits.

“I have been in an arrangement for payments of my council tax until the last quarter of 2022.

I have spoken with Barnsley Council at the highest level of finance, who see this as a personal matter and they are happy with our arrangement.

“The council are also happy that this issue does not affect my ability as an active councillor, other than being unable to vote on the council’s budget, which I did not attempt to do.”

A town hall source told the Chronicle: “Councillors are the people who make decisions about how much all our council tax bills are - it’s only right that councillors should have their own affairs in order.”