Thursday, 3 May 2018

Time for local referenda principles for parish councils?

As you know having been a member and Chairman of Whitwick Parish Council since it was first formed in 2011 I was absolutely flabbergasted and, frankly, ashamed to see the parish council increase its council tax precept by 49% earlier this year.

This exorbitant and unnecessary increase was decided by parish councillors with little, if any, meaningful consultation with local people.

Many Whitwick residents have understandably and rightly been disgusted with the increase.

This week the Prime Minister has appointed a new Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, the Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP.

Today I have written to Mr Brokenshire to ask him if now is not the time to introduce local referenda principles for parish councils; something that all larger councils are subject to?

'Local referenda principles' mean that if councillors want to increase their share of tax by a specific amount then they must carry out a referendum of local people.

It tends to focus the mind when it comes to increasing council tax, do councillors have the courage of their convictions that residents will support them in their plans for a large increase?

Obviously I will keep you updated with any response that I receive.


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