Magazine article Public Finance

Town Halls 'Need Strategic Charging Policies'

Magazine article Public Finance

Town Halls 'Need Strategic Charging Policies'

Article excerpt

Councils should give more thought to how the revenue they collect from charging contributes to their overall financial strategy, the Audit Commission said this week.

Councils in England are now collecting almost £11bn a year in charges for services such as swimming, parking and school meals - eguivalent to £210 for every person and half as much as is raised in council tax.

But the commission said that the majority of councils had little understanding of how their approach to charging contributed to their overall financial strategy and how it compared with other councils.

Its January 22 report, Positively charged, uncovered widespread variation in charging among councils, which the commission concluded did not reflect any conscious strategies.

Commission chair Michael O'Higgins told Public Finance: 'We are not recommending either more or less charging, but that councils should think it through, given it is a very significant part of the revenue they raise locally. …

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