COUNCIL bosses are recovering council tax debts from equal pay claims.

Sums of as much as £10,000 have been deducted from the pay outs in a move dubbed “harsh” by lawyers supporting the equal pay fight.

As thousands of women wait to have money paid into their banks accounts after a 10 year fight for justice, many will receive nothing.

Glasgow City Council has arranged to collect council tax arrears from women using their equal pay payments.

The council said the move was agreed with claimants’ representatives and approved by councillors.

Stefan Cross QC, of Action 4 Equality, the lawyers acting for the equal pay women, said: “Women in this position vary from folk with low offers and matching council tax arrears to to people with quite large wipe outs - more than £10,000 in some cases.

“I think the council should have been far more flexible and simply wiping out complete offers was harsh.


Thousands of women having chunks of equal pay award taken away to settle council tax debts

“The council should have been more flexible but they were adamant this was how it was going to be done.”

Around 200 women are expected to be left with nothing after their council tax arrears are paid off.

Mr Cross said some of the women have payment plans with the council, which are up to date, but who have still had money taken.

He added: “Almost everybody disputes the amounts and we are yet to receive any breakdowns. “There will be disputes for months.”

The Evening Times has spoken to several women affected who are all frustrated and angry at the deduction of their payments.

One woman said: “I know I shouldn’t be in arrears with my council tax but I had every intention of paying it back in instalments.

“After such a long fight, this money feels like it should be treated different. It is a special circumstance and part of the money is compensation for how long the council took to pay us what we were owed.

“You are on a high thinking you are finally getting your lump sum payment and will be in a better position and then that is gone just like that. It has really badly affected me.”


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Glasgow City Council, however, said the deduction of arrears is standard.

A spokesman said: “This is standard for any claim and part of the approach agreed with claimants’ representatives and approved by committee in February.”

GMB Scotland Organiser Rhea Wolfson said urged the council to provide support for any women affected by council tax arrears.

She said: "Council Tax debt is between Glasgow City Council and the individual and is not negotiated as part of an equal pay settlement.

"It is the Council’s prerogative to claim back debt against any payments.

“However, we urge the Council to provide as much ongoing support as possible for staff with these arrears.

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"We have also provided and will continue to provide any GMB members affected with as much practical support as possible."