Jonathan Werran 30 November 2012

Pickles tells parish councils to rethink council tax hikes

Communities secretary Eric Pickles has told parish councils to rethink average 3% hikes to their council tax precept - which he said are outstripping levies raised by the rest of local government.

Speaking at the NALC Larger Councils' conference yesterday, Mr Pickles urged local councillors to make sure they are not overburdening residents with increased taxes.

'It hasn't escaped my noticed that, at a time when most districts are freezing their council tax, the average parish precept has gone up by 3%. And the trend is seeing parish increases outstripping the rest of local government,' said Mr Pickles.

He added the DCLG was prepared to review principles governing council tax referendums, but demanded parish councillors 'square' any rises with their electorate. 'Can you really look your local folk in the eye?' Pickles asked delegates.

Elsewhere in his speech, the communities secretary said parishes should embrace neighbourhood planning to build proper neighbourhoods, asking them 'to choose activism not Nimbyism'.

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