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My Lords, the Statement mentions parish councils,
“taking all available steps to mitigate the need for council tax increases”.
It would help if the Government tried not to impose new costs unnecessarily on parish councils. I refer particularly to the proposal that every parish council, however small, should have to appoint a data protection officer, who apparently cannot be the parish clerk. I declare my interest, having the honour of chairing the Marlesford parish council. We have only seven councillors for 230 people, and our precept is only £2,000 a year. We worked out that if we were to have a data protection officer—who has to be a “qualified” professional—that alone could add 10% to our precept. I believe that that is unacceptable, and I hope that the Government will do something about it.