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NALC calls for review of funding rules

The NationalAssociation of Local Councils (NALCs) is demanding a review of the funding rules for parish and town councils after 17 local authorities refused to pass on £3.8m of funding, which would help them mitigate the impact of localised council tax support schemes. 

Central government has provided funding of £3.3bn to billing authorities in 2014/15 to mitigate the impact of localised council tax support schemes on the local council tax base. And billing authorities are expected to pass down around £40m of funding to parish councils to mitigate any reduction in the tax base due to their local scheme. 

NALC, after gathering the latest information from its network of county associations, has now called on the 17 authorities to rethink their “short-sighted decision”, demanding further action by central government. 

Cllr Ken Browse, NALC’s chairman, said “The vast majority of billing authorities have paid over funding to parish councils but I remain bitterly disappointed in the short-sighted actions of 17 authorities refusing to pass on any funding to parishes in their area, which undermines relationships between tiers of local government. 

“This must not happen again next year, I am strongly urging government to identify this funding in the financial settlement and consider either introducing statutory guidance or funding parish and town councils directly. ” 

Even the local government minister Brandon Lewis has said he is determined to make sure that the money is passed on and will do all he can to make sure this happens. 

The 17 billing authorities refusing to follow government advice are: Test Valley Borough Council, South Cambridgeshire District Council, Surrey Heath Borough Council, Central Bedfordshire Council, Huntingdonshire District Council, North Dorset District Council, Sevenoaks District Council, Swale Borough Council, Northumberland County Council, Ashfield District Council, Bassetlaw District Council, Waveney District Council, Mid Sussex District Council, Wakefield Council, St. Helens Metropolitan Borough Council, Wyre Forest District Council and Bromsgrove District Council. 

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