Challenge over ‘inaccurate’ Peterborough parish council funding claim

Costs claimed by a parish council in Peterborough have been challenged following an allegation that they may be inaccurate.

Wednesday, 14th April 2021, 4:57 am

A referral has been made against Newborough and Borough Fen Parish Council over the amount of funding it has requested for burial grounds maintenance.

The referral was made to Peterborough City Council which said it has asked for “evidence to support the budgeted figures”.

Under the existing arrangement, parish councils submit expected costs relating to burial grounds maintenance (including administration fees) to the city council which then pays out 75 per cent of the total.

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The cemetery in Newborough
The cemetery in Newborough

However, Newborough and Borough Fen has been challenged over a large increase in its administration fees which has risen from £700 to £4,335 in the space of two years.

A Peterborough City Council spokesperson said: “We became aware that the burial and grounds maintenance figures submitted by Newborough parish council could be inaccurate following a referral through to resources and legal services.

“Since then we have contacted the parish council and asked that they provide evidence to support their budgeted figures and the relationship of this with the actual expenditure for the areas covered by burials and grounds maintenance in the graveyard and surrounding areas. We are currently liaising with the parish council on this.”

Figures show that the amount claimed by the parish council for burial grounds maintenance is as follows:

2021/22 - £12,850: £8,515 for maintenance and £4,335 for admin

2020/21 - £11,000: £8,500 for maintenance and £2,500 for admin

2019/20 - £10,700: £10,000 for maintenance and £700 for admin.

The parish council said: “The chairman and Newborough and Borough Fen Parish Council stand by the figures submitted for the 2021/22 precept. The clerk, who is fairly new to the role has based the figures for the burial grounds on data from the previous financial year and projected forecast figure for 2021/22 as per her training, together with advice from other qualified clerks and Peterborough City Council.

“As a parish council our accounts and processes are regularly audited, and to date there have been no irregularities in our finances.”