HC Deb 08 December 1949 vol 470 cc2076-7
39. Mr. Gooch

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps he is taking to assist rural parishes financially in cases where the cost of parish council elections absorbs most of the parish's total yearly income.

41. Brigadier Medlicott

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he is aware that many parish councils have found it difficult to meet the increased cost of the parish council elections under the new procedure; and if he will take steps to provide financial or other assistance in this matter, especially to rural parish councils to whom this new expense is an appreciable burden.

Mr. Ede

I would refer to my answer to a Question by the hon. and gallant Member for the Eastern Division of Norfolk (Brigadier Medlicott) on 1st December, to which I can only add that I have no power to assist parish councils financially in this matter.

Mr. Gooch

Does my right hon. Friend appreciate that it is rather disturbing to parish councils to discover that they have spent the whole of their yearly income on an election, and will he consider the possibility of passing on some suggestion to parish councils who desire to continue this democratic form of election to reduce the cost of the election?

Mr. Ede

The various fees which may be charged in connection with an election are fixed by the county council for the area concerned. I believe there is some occasion in some areas for that scale of fees to be considered.

Brigadier Medlicott

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the old arrangements worked perfectly well and the new arrangements are expensive, unnecessary and unpopular?

Mr. Ede

The organisation speaking for parish councils in the country had for a long time asked that the old method should be abandoned.