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Town councils urge politicians to empower communities

The National Association of Local Councils (NALC) has called on national political party leaders to use their General Election manifestos to help build strong communities.

An open letter from NALC chairman, Cllr Sue Baxter, calls on the next government to ensure that communities have say over local services, are able to take back control, and can bring people together.

In particular, it urges the major political parties to give local people more of a say over planning, housing and development by giving neighbourhood plans more weight.

The letter also calls on whoever forms the next government to scrap council tax referendums and reintroduce laws to make public toilets exempt from business rates.

‘As the most local level of democracy and community action, councils can, and already are, using their unique place-based role to tackle challenges from health and well-being to housing, loneliness to local services, community assets to cohesion parks and open spaces to public toilets, and transport to town centres and high streets,’ the letter states.

Cllr Sue Baxter added: ‘Bringing the country together is currently one of the most significant challenges we face, and never has it been so important that more people are engaged and active in our local communities.

‘Now is the time for the political parties to reinvigorate their approach to localism and devolution with a clear commitment to empower communities, build capacity and support, and provide flexible and diverse funding.

‘As the most local level of democracy and community action, councils can, and already are, using their unique place-based role to tackle some of the most pressing challenges facing our country, principal authorities and our communities.’

Photo Credit – Fietzfotos (Pixabay)

Jamie Hailstone
Senior reporter - NewStart

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