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Local councils now investing half a billion to safeguard local services
New figures show local councils in England are set to spend an extra £33m on local services over the next year. An analysis from National Association of Local Councils (NALC) suggests this additional investment will be spent on safeguarding facilities such as public toilets, youth services, parks, open spaces and libraries.
The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) has published information on council tax levels set by local authorities including community councils. The overall council tax requirement in 2018/19 is £29.6b, of which £518m (1.8%) will be raised through parish precepts, the small share used by England’s 10,000 local councils to pay for their growing range of services. Average bills in areas covered by grassroots councils will rise by an average of 4.9%, with local authorities increasing their demand by 5.1%.
Cllr Sue Baxter, chairman of NALC said: “Local councils are continuing to step up to the plate to deliver an ever growing range of services to meet the needs of their areas, while at the same time being fiscally responsible. Given the financial challenge facing the rest of local government it comes as no surprise to see local councils helping them out by investing more money in protecting much valued local services.
“NALC research last year shone a spotlight on the the changing role of local councils with examples of services now being delivered by the first tier of local government including a local bus service, flood mitigation, funding a full time police community support officer, an electric car club, a youth centre, a children’s pre-school, providing counselling support, helping young people into work, social prescribing, tackling isolation among the elderly, community defibrillators, setting up a Business Improvement District and running a library.”