SIX of Scotland’s new councillors were elected with outstanding council tax bills, The Herald can reveal.

However, the scale of their debt is being kept hidden from voters by secretive local authorities who claim it would breach the data protection rights of the indebted representatives.

Under Section 112 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992, any councillor with at least two months of arrears is unable to fully carry out their duties. Unlike their colleagues, they are forbidden from taking part in crucial budget votes. 

And if they take part in any debates or meetings about council tax they then have to declare their debt.

In response to our Freedom of Information request, Glasgow City Council said that Scottish Green Elaine Gallagher was their only councillor with more than two months of arrears. 

The member for Southside Central, elected for the first time last month, was recently made a Bailie, allowing her to deputise for the Lord Provost at civic receptions and engagements.

She did not respond to requests for a comment.

In Aberdeenshire, three councillors have debts. Scottish Conservative Gordon Lang, the SNP’s Moray Grant and Liberal Democrat Jeff Goodhall.

Councillor Grant told The Herald: “This was purely due to greatly increased fuel and heating costs over the last few months, as I was severely struggling on a very low income, and will be paid off fully in the next month.”

Councillor Lang said: “Due to unforeseen circumstances, I found myself in arrears. 

“It is 100 per cent certain that this will be cleared within the next three weeks.”

Councillor Goodhall said he had been “fully up to date with council tax for the last eight years”. His debt is related to a “historic issue which it hasn’t been possible to resolve any sooner. I have a payment plan arrangement in place to clear this in full and as soon as possible.”

In Dumfries and Galloway, the SNP’s Kim Lowe said her debt had now been cleared.

“I am aware of my standing and responsibilities as an elected member but would like to state that this was a wholly personal matter. This has now been resolved and my payments are up to date,” she said.

Angus Council would not tell us the name of the councillor, just that there was one member with a debt of £44.92.

They said this member “now has a direct debit in place along with all other members”.

While most of Scotland’s 32 councils responded to The Herald’s Freedom of Information request, both Midlothian and North Ayrshire would only tell us that at their respective budget setting meetings earlier this year – before May’s election – there were no members prevented from taking part.