On the last Wednesday of the parliamentary term in the House of Commons I again raised the issue that is affecting many parish and town councils from Hexham and Ponteland downwards. Northumberland County Council are refusing to pass this government money on to the local councils, even though over 90% of other councils have done so. The question we have to ask is why? Other councils are doing this, including I might add plenty, of Labour councils.
Guy Opperman (Hexham):
"On 25 November, in the House, I raised the issue of the council tax benefit support grant, which is not being passed on to all the parish councils in Northumberland. On that occasion, my hon. Friend responded by saying that local authorities should be ensuring that that was done. Can he tell me whether he has made any further progress in forcing them to do so?"
Brandon Lewis MP, Minister Dept Communitioes and Local Government:
"It is true that a very small number of authorities are not yet passing on the grant, and we are telling them that they should. It is a matter for the authorities themselves, but we made it very clear in today’s written statement that they should be passing the money on to the parish councils."
The original question and answer is here: http://www.theyworkforyou.com/debates/?id=2013-11-25a.9.5&s=%28council+tax+benefit+support+grant%29+speaker%3A24962#g10.0
The debate again featured discussion between north and south Local Authorities: the Minister made the point in Wednesday's debate by pointing out the real facts:
"Newcastle receives £2,400 per dwelling, which is about £900 more than areas such as Windsor and Maidenhead."
I will post more as we continue to persaude Northumberland County Council to pay the government money that is due our parish councils.