HC Deb 07 May 1968 vol 764 cc189-90
20. Mr. Gardner

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government if he will seek to amend the Local Government (Financial Provisions) Act, 1963, in order to give parish councils greater freedom to determine their own expenditure.

Mr. Skeffington

The freedom of parish councils to spend money is bound up with their rôle and their relationship to other local authorities. Evidence on these matters has been given by the National Association of Parish Councils to the Royal Commission on English Local Government. I think that we ought now to wait for the report before forming an opinion on changes.

Mr. Gardner

Is my hon. Friend aware that, with my current rate demand, there is a note which tells me that the rural district council is backing Britain by stopping street cleaning? Is he aware that many parish councils would willingly undertake to pay for this work themselves if the law allowed? Irrespective of the Report of the Royal Commission, will he not allow a little local civic initiative?

Mr. Skeffington

My Department and I are always anxious to encourage enterprising parish councils, many of which do a magnificent job, but a change in the law must await the Report of the Royal Commission.