TOWN and parish councils are facing an increased threat this year from the withdrawal of government grant funding compensating for a loss of income through the transfer of responsibility for council tax benefit to local authorities.
The transfer resulted in reducing the council tax base for authorities at all levels, and last year the grant given to all but town and parish councils, and district council were encouraged to pass on part of the grant to the towns and parishes in accordance with the impact on each.
Most did, but this year, the government has reduced the amount of transitional grant, and hard pressed local authorities are reluctant to pass on a share to the towns and parishes.
East Dorset District Council's resources committee last week agreed to recommend to full council that the amount passed on should be reduced by around 13 per cent, from a total between 28 parishes of £124,151 to £105,131, and progressively reduce the total for the next three years.
The largest towns of Ferndown and Wimborne Minster stand to lose around £4,000 and £5,000 respectively.
Councillor Alex Clarke said: "Towns and parish are not covered by capping regulations at the moment, but they need to work towards a time when they will be."
Councillor Janet Dover commented: "If we are asking town and parish councils to take on services from us and they have to put their precept up because of it, we should pass it on."