Community leaders march on Parliament:

Community leaders march on Parliament

England’s 9,000 parish councils are marching on the Houses of Parliament on 30 June 2015 in a ‘lobby day’ to meet with Members of Parliament.

Scores of local (parish and town) council representatives from across the country will be descending on Westminster as part of the first ever ‘lobby day’ by the National Association of Local Councils (NALC) aimed at raising the profile of our most local level of government.

Community leaders will be meeting their local MPs to promote the benefits of local councils and how England’s 80,000 councillors are improving their communities by giving local people a voice, taking action on local priorities and delivering important local services.

Councillors will also be raising the parish sector’s positive offer to the new Government alongside pressing for new measures to put communities more in control of their areas through stronger local democracy, fairer funding and more powers.

MPs will be presented with a copy of NALC’s manifesto which sets out three key demands:

  • Stronger local democracy: including supporting the creation of new local councils across England and introducing a ‘community right of appeal’.
  • Fairer funding: with greater financial freedoms for local councils including no Government interference to cap spending, ensuring Government funding is passed on by other councils and a share of business rates.
  • More powers: developing a legislative framework to realise the potential of communities by reforming outdated laws governing the administration of local councils and introducing new powers to empower the community and deliver local services.

Chairman of NALC, Cllr Ken Browse said: “This is our first ever lobby day and I want the voice of communities to be heard in Parliament.

“In these important early days following the general election I want to see all MPs improve their awareness of local councils in their constituencies and in particular acknowledge and support the vital work they do to improve their areas.

“Our lobby day is about doing just this and dozens of MPs have already agreed to meet with us on 30 June; I hope many more will also take the time on Tuesday to meet with representatives from our councils and county associations of local councils in Westminster.

“New town and parish councils are being created every year as a result of communities wanting more of a say over their area; so I’m particularly keen for MPs in unparished areas such as our larger towns and cities to engage with us and understand the benefits of grassroots democracy, representation and community action.

“Devolution must be about more than just giving more power to the already powerful; we need to accelerate the cause of localism and truly empower the localist powerhouse that is the parish movement.”

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