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Javid to strengthen guidance on devolving funding to parishes

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Communities secretary Sajid Javid has said he will look to strengthen the requirement for principal authorities to pass down appropriate funding for devolved responsibilities to town and parish councils.

In a speech to the National Association of Local Councils conference yesterday, Mr Javid said that while towns and parishes had shown an ambition to provide a wider range of services, top-tier and district councils were not following government guidance on the issue.

He told delegates that the government remains “absolutely, 100 per cent committed to localism and devolution”.

Mr Javid added that a clear message of the EU referendum was that there is a desire for communities to “take back control” and said the government is “eager to see this happen”.

He said it is “truly exciting times” for parish and town councils as larger councils look to delegate delivery of services.

Mr Javid praised parish and town councils for their ambition to drive economic growth, provide youth services and improve health and wellbeing.

But he added that finance was a “perennial obstacle” to towns and parishes improving services.

Mr Javid said: “[I] know that not enough cash from the principal support grant is finding its way down to your level. And that’s just not right.

“Principal authorities should be devolving responsibilities to local councils because you are best placed to deliver more tailored services.”

Mr Javid added that councils should not devolve responsibilities in order to “get important work done on the cheap” or use parish precepts “as a means of avoiding their own cap on council tax increases”.

He said: “From my conversations with you, it’s clear that too many top-tier councils aren’t following that guidance closely enough.

“So let me promise you all today that I’ll be exploring ways in which I can strengthen the requirement for principal authorities to pass a share of local council tax support to their towns and parishes. It’s the least you deserve”.

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