Parish Council & Town

Parish council tax bills rise ‘to save services from cuts’

Story by Rob England, BBC News.

Dozens of parishes in England have doubled their council tax bills, while some are taking on services they say larger authorities cannot afford.

Parish and town council officials said they were trying to protect services following government funding cuts.

BBC analysis found 45 parishes more than doubled their levy on the Band D council tax for 2019-20.

The government said councils were responsible for their own decisions about how much to charge.

Official data showed three out of four English parish and town councils increased their bills this year.

About 18 million people live in parishes and have to pay a precept on their council tax, with parish councils asking for £554m in 2019-20.

Local authorities in England have seen their funding fall since 2010 while council tax increases have been capped, but parish increases do not have the same restrictions.

‘Like a threat’

Prof Alistair Jones, from the Local Governance Research Centre at De Montfort University, said parish bills were rising as smaller authorities were taking on services larger councils could no longer afford to run.

“Due to cutbacks to principal authorities [district or borough councils] sometimes parish councils are told, almost like a threat, to take a local service or lose it,” he said.

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