I’m very interested in Peter Bird’s (Parish Matters , Free Press, January 8) suggestion that parish councils may be able to assist local independent traders “using the small amount of power available” (which I understand means using some tax payers money) to fight shop closures caused by the recession and multinational competition.
He further suggests that collective power through political parties at council level can be good. Here, I suppose, the logic is the same one that can be applied to the culture of co-opted cronyism at parish council level, ie a group of like minded local people of one purpose working with the same aims.
I disagree with Peter Bird. First, every penny taken out of the local economy by more taxation is a penny less spent in the local economy.
Secondly, there is little evidence collective power through Tory-dominated South Holland District Council has yet to get the hang of supporting local businesses if the example of the Red Lion Quarter is anything to go by. Mr Bird may well be right about the effect of multinationals when there is no competition but the £6.5m of taxpayers’ money thrown at the RLQ only confirms my belief that councils will serve all of us a lot better when they leave business to businessmen.
Can parish council/district council fight for you? Yes they can; here’s how; they should prioritise spending, control spending, ensuring always that they work within affordable budgets taking into account the needs of the community in accordance with council duties. How hard is that?