By Tristan Harris Thursday 14 March 2013 Updated: 15/03 14:53
THE ORGANISATION which represents the district’s parish councils has hit back at claims made last week that the authorities were not value for money.
Richard Levett, the executive officer of the Worcestershire County Association of Local Councils, said he believed parish councils represented excellent value for money as they were small, had tiny overheads and could provide services cheaply.
He said, unlike district councils, parish councils did not pay councillors to turn up to meetings and every penny a parish council had was spent on that community.
“In parish councils, administration is what gets the work done.
“In district councils, it’s what services the organisation.”
He added the Government saw parish councils as an important element in delivering localism.
“Bromsgrove parishes work well with the district council, and really value the co-operation they get.
“It would be a great shame if that were lost,” he said.
And he issued a rallying call to everyone who lived in a parished area to have their say on their local council.
Last week, it was printed that, while the finances for 2013/14 were being agreed, £42,000 extra had to be found for parish councils because of a shortfall caused by the Government changing the way the number of D band equivalent homes was calculated.
Mr Levett said Central Government was due to give the district council a subsidy next year because of council tax changes.
He added it identified £52,000 of that should be passed on to parish councils so they would be able to collect almost the same amount through council tax as last year, without increasing council tax.
And he claimed Bromsgrove District Council decided to pass on £42,000 of that, but did not tell parish councils about that adequately, or in time, so in most cases, the subsidy was ignored when the precepts were calculated.
Bromsgrove District Council’s executive director of finance and corporate resources, Jayne Pickering, said the Government left it late to let councils know what funding they were getting this year, including the one-off grant to support parish precepts.
She said, once approved, the parishes were informed of the grant allocations to enable them to calculate their portions, but the parishes’ precepts did not all take the grant into account.
“As I told the meeting last week, we accept we could have been clearer on how parish councils should have dealt with the effect of the grant on their precept-setting,” she added.
To have your say on parish councils, e-mail your views to email@example.com or write to R.Hollingworth, Council House, Burcot Lane, Bromsgrove. B60 1AA
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