Pendle peer calls for more support for parish and town councils
Pendle based Liberal Democrat Lord Tony Greaves has called on the government to provide support to town and parish councils as part of the levelling up agenda when they take over services that were previously run by district councils such as Pendle.
Speaking in a House of Lords debate on the budget he said the smaller councils need funding for investment projects that they cannot raise council tax for, as an important part of the levelling-up process.
"In many parts of the country we are seeing local governance evolving," he said. "Towns are again exerting themselves, developing a civic importance and becoming a centre of civic pride, which they have not had for quite a long time.”
After the debate Lord Greaves said that we can see this happening in Pendle, where town councils such as Nelson, Colne, Barnoldswick and Earby, and parishes such as Barrowford and Trawden Forest, are taking on things like community centres, play areas, parks and their local entertainment programmes.
He said this is happening all over the country but the government is not providing financial support.
Lord Greaves, who is also a borough councillor, remarked that in Pendle the council tax levels for the larger towns and parishes were now often as high as a quarter or a third of the amount levied by Pendle itself – or even higher in some cases. Yet the government only provides funding to Pendle.
He later said in the debate: “I keep being told that the Government have no powers to support them (parish and town councils). I find this extremely unlikely but, if that is true, it needs changing.
"In particular, they need funding schemes for investment projects that they cannot raise council tax for, as an important part of the levelling-up process. The Government need to look very hard indeed at how they support them."