Whilst the council has only a few duties, Acts of Parliament provide the council with a wide range of powers (what the council CAN do). Councils are under no obligation to use all of their powers, and many do not, often for practical and economic reasons. Some of the main powers available to the council are summarised below:

  • Power to raise money through the precept to provide services to the town. The amount raised is uncapped, but councils do try to keep spending within a reasonable level
  • Power to provide grants to community projects and organisations through Section 137 of their precept budget, though the amount the Town Council can allocate is limited by law.
  • Power to provide and maintain bus shelters, allotments, CCTV, places of entertainment, recreational facilities, War Memorials, mortuaries and burial grounds, bins and street furniture and buildings for public use
  • Power to repair and maintain a footpath
  • Power to buy and manage land
  • Power to provide parking places and cycle racks
  • Eligible councils can now use the new 'General Power of Competance' which enables a local authority to 'do anything it considers likely to achieve the promotion or improvement of the economic, social or environmental well-being of the area.'