Local authorities have powers to charge for the services they provide, including housing rents, waste charges, parking charges and planning application fees. Income from fees and charges are an important revenue source for local authorities. In most cases charges are set locally, although certain charges are fixed at national level.
The setting and management of many charges are determined by individual local authorities as part of the annual budget process, a key reserved function of local authority members. The legislative basis for the budgetary process is set out in the Local Government Act 2001, as amended by the Local Government Reform Act 2014.
The levying and collection of commercial rates are also matters for each individual local authority. The Annual Rate on Valuation (ARV) is applied to the valuation of each property, determined independently by the Commissioner of Valuation, to obtain the amount of rates payable. Determination of the ARV is also a reserved function of a local authority's democratically elected members.
It is a matter for each democratically elected Council to determine its own revenue raising and spending priorities in the context of the annual budgetary process, having regard to both local needs and available resources. The power to set many local charges and spending priorities is a critical function of local councillors and I have no plans to initiate a review of local authority charges.