Local government secretary Eric Pickles has rejected pleas from parish councils to end an anomaly in which they stand to lose as much as a third of their precept income due to council tax benefit changes.
Mr Pickles said it was up to parishes, district and county councils to share the impact of a 10% cut in revenue support as part of council tax benefit localisation next April. While many councils are absorbing the cut some are withdrawing benefit from poor households while students and pensioners are exempt from the cuts.
Mr Pickles was repeatedly pressed at a conference of larger parish and town councils in London to spare parishes from the impact of the benefit changes on their precepts. In reply he accused them of imposing above average precepts. He also rejected calls to give them a share of business rate. Parishes receive no government grant.