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Cash for parish councils best used elsewhere

Dear Sir,

The call by Michael Dunkley for people to step forward and serve on government boards opens the door to a discussion that is long overdue: the viability and basic need for many of these boards to exist at all.

Just taking one group as an example, the parish councils, highlights the need for a rethink.

Parish councils are, in the main, an anachronism that hearkens back to a time when the parishes were more self-governing and identifiable communities, bound together more tightly because of a different way of life.

This way of life gradually changed as people acquired cars and began to travel here and there without regard to location. Today, many would argue “sadly”, there is not that strong sense of belonging to a specific parish, and the subject surfaces only when eligibility for county cricket teams is considered.

Yet the parish councils meet on a regular, monthly basis and often have a dozen members.

Except in a couple of cases where a council earns money to fund a scholarship, the visible contribution to the parishes is close to nil.

If the only issue was that the councils were not producing any output of note, it would not be a subject worth much consideration. But when you consider that council members are paid $50 for each meeting, you start to see that laying out $50,000 to $60,000 per year might be better used elsewhere. And do people realise that there is a support structure in place within the Government with a highly paid parish councils co-ordinator and staff? Surprise.

It is the myriad of “low-hanging fruit” issues such as this which, when added together, could save the Government a significant amount of money.

Unfortunately, it does not appear to be within anyone's real interests to tackle these subjects; maybe we should take the parish councils co-ordinator's salary and fund a person to root out these unnecessary expense centres.


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Published October 31, 2016 at 9:00 am (Updated October 30, 2016 at 11:19 pm)

Cash for parish councils best used elsewhere

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