Minister called into funds debate

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A government minister has been asked to intervene in a row over parish council funding.

Thetford Town Council faces a £85,000 funding cut after Breckland Council voted not to pass on money from government grants.

Cllr Terry Jermy, who sits on both councils, has asked Government minister Brandon Lewis to intervene.

He has said the cuts, which have been approved by the council, will withhold ‘vital’ funding.

Leader of Breckland Council Michael Wassell said that no money in this year’s reduced government grant was allocated towards subsidising parish councils.

Mr Lewis, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, spoke about Council Tax Benefit Support Grants in parliament on November 25.

He said: “We made it clear this year that councils should pass the money down to parish councils.”

Cllr Jermy said: “I think Breckland Council need to get some clarity on the matter and if the money was intended for parish councils they need to pass it on.”

He said that Mr Lewis had told the National Association of Local Councils he would approach any councils that sought to withhold the funding.

Cllr Wassell said: “The parishes were told very clearly last year that it was a one off deal the vast majority of parishes have accepted that and built budgets accordingly.

“I think this is something that is unfortunate but the situation as far as I’m concerned, until I see anything different from the Department of Communities and Local Government, is the money is not available and the parishes like districts, county and the Government have to cut their cloth according to what is available.”