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NALC highlights red tape costs on local projects
The hidden costs to local (parish and town) councils in providing popular community services such as Christmas lights have been raised by the National Association of Local Councils (NALC).
Speaking to BBC East Midlands Today, which aired on 5 September 2018, about concerns health and safety checks for Christmas lights will cost thousands of pounds and put future displays in doubt. Cllr Sue Baxter, chairman of NALC, said: “We know the burden on our local councils is ever increasing with laws and regulations and safety checks. Collectively our local councils spend over half a billion pounds a year on projects and activities and for many, this includes Christmas lights, and they really do enhance the local community and improve the local economy.
Following the interview, Cllr Baxter, said: “Providing lights during the festive period enhances the sense of community, brings people together at community events and attracts visitors to support shops, businesses and the local economy. But there is an unfortunate hidden cost of complying with countless rules and regulations, such as safety checks by technical experts to ensure Christmas lights are safe and secure, often costing thousands of pounds, which ultimately are paid for by local residents. While it’s important for our councils to budget for the full costs of providing lighting during the festive period and ensuring they are safe, I’d like to see local businesses sponsor these initiatives and for the organisations who provide safety checks to show some Christmas spirit, recognise the social value and community benefit they bring to our communities, and reflect this in their charges.”