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WC wants to make parishes pay election costs - update

February 2, 2021 4:07 PM

Town, parish and county elections happen every four years on the same day, so as Wiltshire Council has to pay for the county elections anyway, no charge has been made to the parishes for theirs. This system was inherited from the local District Councils.

Now WC's Conservative administration wants to make the parishes pay. The decision will be made at the cabinet meeting on February 2 and then confirmed by the full council on Feb 23.

The initial statement from WC implied that this wouldn't kick in for the May 2021 elections, but would start in 2025. However what's actually being proposed is that parishes will be charged for the 2021 elections, but won't get a bill in the 2021/2 financial year. They will though have to pay in three installments over the following three years.

The exact cost will vary, but will be from £200 to £600 per parish or ward for an uncontested election, and from £7,000 to £12,000 for a contested election.

Further update - this was deferred at the Feb 2 cabinet and 'almost certainly' won't apply to the May 2021 elections. Perhaps someone in the administration spotted that alienating every town and parish council in the county in the run-up to an election was not a good idea.