The National Association of Local Councils (NALC) has led a delegation to meet with Local Government Minister Kris Hopkins MP this week to press for fair funding for parish and town councils in next month’s local government finance settlement.
The meeting was held during the Government’s consultation period on the settlement - which was held over the Christmas period and closes on 14 January 2014) - including an ‘open question’ from the minister on whether referenda principles which currently only apply to principal councils should be extended to parishes.
NALC is opposed to referendum principles being applied to ‘higher spending’ parish and town councils, a threat which has loomed over the sector since the settlement for 2014/15 last February.
Chair of the NALC, Cllr Ken Browse, said: “I would like to thank the ministerfor meeting with us and engaging so positively and constructively on the concerns we have on finance issues affecting parishes.
“I reiterated my disappointment that the minister’s statement before Christmas made no mention of council tax support funding arrangements given over 30 principal (county, unitary, district, and borough) councils did not pass on any funding to parishes this year, with our delegation reporting that more are likely to follow suit next year. This situation is unacceptable and must be addressed, with the ministers expectation funding should be passed on being conveyed to this growing number of councils.”
“But NALC is pleased that the Government agrees with us that principal (county, district, unitary and borough) authorities should pass on all council tax support funding to parish and town councils.”
“We again set out our opposition to referenda principles being applied to any parishes as this would undermine local democracy.”