By Andrew Fitchett
Monday, February 3, 2014
Thetford Town Council is the latest authority to join the fight against Breckland Council’s decision to axe a £305,000 Government support grant.
The town council is £85,000 worse off after the district council decided to not pass on the Council Tax Support Grant to town and parish councils.
The money was issued to smaller councils last year to compensate for changes in the council tax benefit system.
But while that money was specifically allocated for 2013/14, this year councillors are under no legal obligation to pass the money on.
This week, Swanton Morley Parish Council stood up against the plans, with chairman Roger Atterwill writing to Michael Wassell, council leader, and expressing “deep concern” with the decision.
That stand was applauded by councillors at last Tuesday’s meeting of Thetford Town Council, where members agreed to write to Breckland with similar concerns.
Terry Jermy, town and district councillor, told the meeting that although Breckland were not obliged to pass on the money, that had been the intention of central government.
The town council has written to the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) to ask about the intentions for the grant.
A reply from Peter J Reilly, from the DCLP, said the district council should have worked with town councils to establish how much of the money should have been passed on.
Terry Lamb, town and district councillor, said: “It does seem as though Breckland Council are taking money they should be passing on and it’s telling that even a very little council such as Swanton Morley is willing to take up cudgels over this matter.” he said.
The council agreed to write to MPs to gather support and to Breckland Council to register their concerns.
Do you think the town council are right to fight for the grant? Email reporter Andrew Fitchett on firstname.lastname@example.org