There’s been an unexpected shake-up at Carnforth Town Council with all twelve councillors deciding that have had enough and have walked out handing over all their responsibilities to the 1st Carnforth Scouts! But there’s no need for residents to worry – or celebrate – just yet as this is simply an interesting experiment designed to introduce young people to local democracy and to encourage their interest, and influence, in what happens in their local community.
The Scouts, who range in age between 10 and 14 years old, will be set the task of producing a budget that takes account not only of the Town Council’s normal expenditure and fixed costs, such as the Town’s community amenities, but that also balances these with income projections and plans for new projects like the Platinum Jubilee Street Festival in June 2022 or, indeed, any new plans that the Scouts come up with!
On 6th December more than 20 Scouts will be electing a Chair and deliberating their priorities with the added difficulty that they must balance their budget so that the burden on the Council Tax payers in the Town is not unduly increased – just as elected Councillors do! To do this they must produce a net budget of no more than £100,000 deciding what can – and cannot – be delivered to achieve this and being prepared to answer questions and challenges put to them by ‘residents’ – being several of the real Town Councillors!
Speaking about the event the Clerk and Proper Officer, Bob Bailey said ‘The aim of the evening is to give the Scouts a flavour of the decisions that a council – any council – has to take in order to produce a balanced budget, as well as have a bit of fun! Deciding what is desirable as opposed to what is essential is a valuable life skill that the Town Council hopes will benefit each of the Scouts, whilst providing us with an opportunity to strengthen local democracy by involving the future electorate, representing their interests and delivering outcomes that councillors seek to achieve’.