Portsmouth Ukip councillor admits he’s behind with tax bills

Ukip councillor Paul Godier
Ukip councillor Paul Godier
Gunwharf Quays with the HMS Temeraire sports fields in the background Picture: Shaun Roster www.shaunroster.com

MoD sport pitches ‘will be key to Gunwharf growth’

14
Have your say

A UKIP councillor could not vote on £13.1m of cuts being made to Portsmouth services next year – because he is behind paying his council tax bills.

Cllr Paul Godier has revealed he was unable to join other city councillors when they debated how council money should be saved due to being in arrears.

That is because rules ban councillors behind on tax payments from voting.

He says he racked up debts putting his partner and son through college, but has a payment plan in place and should be up-to-date with his council tax by February next year.

He refused to reveal what the debt is.

But rival politicians say it is not good enough and questions should be raised as to why Cllr Godier continues to draw his £10,302 annual allowance as a councillor.

Cllr Godier, who was elected to represent the city’s Charles Dickens ward in May, said: ‘I have a payment plan in place and I am trying to put myself back in the right position in life. This is not affecting my role as a councillor.

‘Obviously I can’t make any decisions on the budget situation, but I don’t think that was my strong point anyway.

‘The residents know I have debt problems. I have been trying to sort out my debt problems for the last couple of years.

‘I have spent years as a low-skilled dockyard worker, but I can’t get any work in the dockyard because of the uptake of low-skilled foreign workers.

‘I think I am a good representation of my ward – in places like Somers Town, Buckland and the big housing estates I imagine there are a lot of people who owe council tax.’

Cllr John Ferrett, Labour group leader, said: ‘Clearly when people elect councillors they expect them to be to make important decisions.

‘The most important ones we can take as councillors is how money is spent and whether or not we raise council tax.

He added: ‘Cllr Godier is in receipt of an allowance, and that councillor allowance is provided for by council tax payers of this city.’

But Cllr Godier said taking his allowance away would hinder his job.

‘Working on the budget is one part of your job, and I think there is a bigger part of the job which the allowance covers,’ he said.

‘I am out until 10 at night visiting residents.’