Two Islington councillors were issued court summonses because they had fallen behind on their council tax.

Councillors Matt Nathan and Ben Mackmurdie both settled their debts. The council said the cost-of-living crisis was affecting everybody, including elected officials.

The council initially refused to identify two councillors who had failed to pay their tax in the last financial year, when asked to do so under the Freedom of Information Act by Liberal Democrat campaigner Terry Stacy.

But it finally released the details when Mr Stacy lodged an appeal, citing legal precedents that said elected officials in council tax arrears should be publicly identified.

“I am baffled why the council refused to release this information in the beginning,” he said.

“I have real sympathy for people being affected by the cost-of-living crisis. On the other hand, councillors have chosen to be in the public arena and actually set the level of council tax that we pay.”

He added that councillors who are struggling to pay their bills are receiving roughly £12,000 in allowances that others in otherwise similar financial positions are not receiving.

Independent councillor Matt Nathan told the Gazette: “Like many people, I have an irregular income but always make sure council tax liability is paid ahead of the annual budget meeting.

“I wasn’t aware of the summons and I paid the debt as soon as I was.”

Labour councillor Ben Mackmurdie said: “As I am self-employed in the construction industry, my monthly income varies.

“Also, the construction industry in London has slowed down due to the economic recession last year. Combined with the cost of living crisis, I was out of work for a few months.”

He added: “I contacted the council tax department before it went to court and was not charged court fees, but it was too late to take my name off the list.”

An Islington Council spokesperson said: “The cost-of-living crisis has deeply affected many people across Islington in recent years.

“We ask anyone who is struggling to pay their council tax bill to please contact us at the earliest opportunity to discuss their situation and find out about support that may be available.”