Council tax referendum principles
Last month (November 2016) NALC chairman Cllr Ken Browse wrote to local government minister Marcus Jones MP in advance of the provisional local government finance settlement being published with a further plea not to extend council tax referendum principles to parish and town councils; some extracts are below:
“Our Executive Committee met this week and took stock of where we are on your consultation on the local government finance settlement. We agreed an unprecedented step of me writing to ask you to revisit your stance as this could seriously damage our shared aim of encouraging people to get involved in improving their local communities.
I wrote to you recently setting out in detail our response to the local government finance settlement consultation including our deep opposition to your proposals. I am now following this up with a personal plea not to take this course of action. In short your proposals will seriously damage the ability of communities to respond to current and future needs and priorities such as neighbourhood planning, protecting and enhancing local assets and services, as well as fundamentally undermining local democracy and the vital community leadership role played by parish and town councils.
Councillors from across the country on our Executive Committee reported to me the consultation was already having the effect of stopping parishes doing things like increasing winter maintenance, grass cutting, getting involved in neighbourhood planning and taking on new services. Alarmingly many councils are simply not setting precepts which would give them the resources do these kind of things; this is because of the proposals.
I have to say I have been very struck by the concerns which have been expressed to me directly by councillors from all over the country – ordinary people giving up time freely to serve their community – to what simply amounts to crude capping of parish precepts and a real sense of mistrust of them by central government.Many people who are proud to serve their area as a councillor and who work hard to improve quality of life for residents have told me they will be standing down if these plans go ahead.
I find this is all most worrying indeed and I have to admit that your proposals and indicative lack of trust in our most local level of democracy are making it increasingly difficult for us to persuade councillors to embrace many government initiatives.”
Delegates at our conference for larger councils on 30th November unanimously supported a motion opposing the government’s plans, calling for more action by NALC, county associations and councils if they are included in the provisional local government finance settlement. I will keep you updated!
“Council of the Week”
NALC has been celebrating the work of member councils through its Council of the Week feature since the launch of the new website in November 2014. Each week, the exemplary work of a local (parish or town) council in England is shared on the NALC website and in our weekly e-newsletter, showcasing our members’ achievements to a national audience, whilst inspiring good practice amongst others.
We would love to see your hard work recognised.
To be considered for Council of the Week, all you have to do is fill out the simple nomination form and send it with your high-resolution image to email@example.com.
Successful Council of the Week nominees will be contacted by email prior to the piece being published.
All Council of the Week submissions will automatically be entered into the prestigious Council of the Year category of NALC Star Council 2016 awards.
So there’s another fantastic reason to put your council forward!
You can use this accolade to promote your council’s work by personalising the template press release (found below) for use in your communications and to issue to local media. Don’t forget to share your Council of the Week story on your social media accounts too.
Council of the Week nomination form http://www.nalc.gov.uk/library/about-nalc/1899-cotw-editable-form-feb-2016/file
View previous Council of the Week entries http://www.nalc.gov.uk/latest/tags/tag/28-council-of-the-week