NALC supports report’s appeal for all areas to have local councils
The National Association of Local Councils (NALC) is supporting the call from the think-tank Onward to give every area a local (parish and town) council to bolster communities and community resilience.
The report, The Policies of Belonging, says that when the government publishes the Devolution White Paper it should include a provision for the introduction of local councils in places where they do not currently exist because every area should be given the “right to self-government” through a local council.
The report adds that “ministers should pave the way for the widespread introduction of [local councils], while also giving [local councils] the right to assume ownership of, and responsibility for, green spaces, community sports facilities, community centres and local high street maintenance in their area”.
Cllr Sue Baxter, NALC chairman, said: "Levelling up local democracy by creating more local councils everywhere and expanding their role is rightly at the heart of Onwards timely proposals to repair our social fabric.
“Local councils have been the backbone of the pandemic's response, demonstrating their importance as a growing and changing unit of solidarity and natural focus of community effort in building strong and resilient communities.
“I look forward to working with Onward to take on the proposals in its report and support local councils to continue to be ambitious and help make a change in their area."
Since 2013, a number of measures have been introduced to increase the use of local councils in England, including reducing the number of petition signatures required from 10% to 7.5% and giving community groups the freedom to create local councils as long as a neighbourhood plan is in place. However, only 25% of the population of England is covered by local councils, compared to 70% of Wales and 100% of Scotland.