One in five people fail to pay their council tax on time, and a Merton councillor was among them.

A Freedom of Information request submitted by the Wimbledon Guardian revealed that one elected official still owed £1,474 of their tax, despite being told by a court that they need to do.

Merton Council confirmed on Monday (October 22), that the outstanding tax had now been paid - but would not say who the culprit is.

In response to the FOI, the council said that it would be "withholding the names of the councillors as this information is exempt under section 40(2) of the Freedom of Information Act, 2000. "This is because it is personal data and disclosure would contravene the Data Protection Act.

"This applies because individuals do not expect their personal details to be revealed to the world at large, which disclosure under the FOI has to be considered as."

But this mystery councillor isn't the only one who has failed to pay on time.

Since the beginning of the 2014/15 financial year, the council has sent out 20 "gentle reminders" to existing councillors telling them to pay up, including four this year so far.

Deputy leader and cabinet member for finance, Councillor Mark Allison, said council tax was becoming more and more relied upon.

“As a business-like council we encourage everyone to pay council tax by direct debit, and although the vast majority do, occasionally people forget, or their bank account has a problem, so a gentle reminder is needed.

"More than 80 per cent of residents make every monthly payment without any need to remind them, and the figure for councillors at nearly 95 per cent is obviously even better still.

"Where it’s more than a mistake, we will take further action, and as a result, we currently have a record collection rate of 97.5 per cent, and even higher among councillors.

"With government funding drastically being cut, we are even more reliant on council tax to pay for local services, and we’d like to thank all those responsible residents and councillors who pay promptly.”