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Councils invest £500m to save services

New figures show community councils in England are set to spend an extra £33m on local services over the next year.

The additional investment will be spent on safeguarding facilities such as public toilets, youth services, parks and open spaces and libraries, suggests analysis from the National Association of Local Councils (NALC).

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has published information on council tax levels set by local authorities including community councils.

The overall council tax requirement in 2018-19 is £29.6 billion, of which £518 million (1.8%) will be raised through parish precepts.

This is the small share used by England’s 10,000 parish and town (community) councils to pay for their growing range of services.

Average bills in areas covered by community councils will rise by an average of 4.9%, with local authorities increasing their demand by 5.1%.

NALC chairman Sue Baxter said: "Community councils are continuing to step up to the plate to deliver an ever growing range of services to meet the needs of their areas, while at the same time being fiscally responsible.

"Given the financial challenge facing the rest of local government it comes as no surprise to see community councils helping them out by investing more money in protecting much valued local services."

NALC research last year shone a spotlight on the the changing role of community councils.

Examples of services now being delivered by the first tier of local government including a local bus service, funding a full time Police Community Support Officer, an electric car club, a youth centre and a children’s pre-school.

Other services included providing counselling support, helping young people into work, social prescribing, tackling isolation among the elderly, community defibrillators, setting up a Business Improvement District and running a library.

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