Falmouth's MP, Sarah Newton, has vowed to fight for local councils who face having their ambitions curtailed if plans to cap budget increases are implemented by Government minister Eric Pickles.

Falmouth Town Council has set a budget which sees a 20 per cent increase on its precept, but has been warned it may have to scrap its plans, which include operating free public toilets and making contributions to CCTV provision and a local bus service, if Mr Pickles has his way and insists on a referendum being held to gauge public opinion over budget increases.

Each individual town councillor has signed a letter which has gone to Mr Pickles outlining the reasons behind the proposed budget increase and exactly how the money will be spent.

Following on from this, Mrs Newton has now lent her support, saying: “When so many local people are really feeling the pinch, I think all councils should be as efficient as possible and keep the council tax as low as possible.

“However I also share the concern of Falmouth town councillors regarding proposals to require parish and town councils to hold referendums when raising their precept. Councils like Falmouth are taking on increased responsibilities in order to deliver better services for local people, here in Falmouth intervening to keep the public toilets open, and rely on their precept for the funds to do this. A compulsory referendum would represent a very costly way of engaging with residents in advance of any proposed precept rise.

“I have repeatedly raised my concerns with DCLG Ministers and will continue to lobby on behalf of Falmouth and other parish and town councils in my constituency, in advance of a final decision being reached. At this stage these measures are proposals only and I hope that a common sense agreement can be reached which supports parish and town councils to take a greater role in local service provision.”