Councils highlight importance of services

Representatives from England's 10,000 parish and town aim to raise their profile by marching on parliament.

The third ever 'Lobby Day' by the National Association of Local Councils (NALC) will see local councillors meet with parliamentarians at Westminster.

Community leaders will be meeting their local MPs to promote the benefits of local councils.

They also hope to show how England's 80,000 councillors give local people a voice, take action on local priorities and delivere important local services.

Councillors will also be raising the local council sector's positive offer to those in Westminster and Whitehall.

They will press for new measures to put communities more in control of their areas through stronger local democracy, fairer funding and more powers.

NALC believes making it easier for communities and local people to set up new local councils would strengthen local democracy.

There have been over 200 new local councils set up in the last decade but NALC says there are still major bureaucratic barriers to prevent them from being created.

The association also wants fairer funding – enabling councils to spend their monies as their communities and electorate wants.

It says there should be no capping placed on any of there spending and all intended grants are passed over to them.

NALC says many local councils encourage the development of the local economy and businesses so they should have a share of the business rates.

But it is not asking for an increase in the levels of this taxation, arguing instead that it want to maintain the amounts of monies coming to communities through neighbourhood planning and development.

It does however, want more powers for local councils to deliver new services, such as in the area of health and well-being.

NALC chair Sue Baxter said she wanted to parliamentarians "up their game" and improve their awareness of local councils in their respective communities.

"In a time when more communities are feeling disconnected from power, new local councils are being created every year as a result of communities wanting more of a say over their area," she said.

"I'm particularly keen for MPs in unparished areas such as our larger towns and cities to engage with us and understand the benefits of grassroots democracy, representation and community action."


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