The Liberal Democrat Party’s pre-manifesto has pledged to increase the number of parish councils, a commitment which was today strongly welcomed by the National Association of Local Councils.
The policies in the eighty page pre-manifesto, which has ‘spreading opportunity for the next generation’ at its heart, will be debated and voted on by Liberal Democrat members at their Party Conference in Glasgow next month.
A chapter entitled ‘Power to the people: Freedom, democracy and citizenship’ includes the aim of increasing the number of parish councils along with other measures to devolve powers to a local level.
Other measures announced in the pre-manifesto to strengthen community rights to run local public services and protect community assets, remove the requirement to hold local referenda on increases in precept, enable even greater devolution of powers to councils or groups of councils and explore the scope for greater devolution of financial responsibility councils, have also been welcomed by NALC, the body which represents 9,000 parish councils in England.
Chairman of the NALC, Cllr Ken Browse said: “Parish councils are the backbone of our democracy in England and at the heart of so many communities, in urban and rural areas alike.
They provide local people and their communities with a democratic voice and a structure for taking community action – real people power at a local level.
“We need more of this grassroots democracy in our country and I’m delighted the Liberal Democrats agree with us on this issue and are committed to actually increasing the number of parish councils.
“NALC will be pressing this case at the party conferences this Autumn and I look forward to the other political parties giving their support too and announcing policies which will help parish councils to flourish and make more of a difference in their area”.