A PROPOSAL to give residents more say on how their council tax is spent will be heard at the next meeting of Penrith Town Council.

Councillor for Penrith West, Jonathan Davies will propose a change to how the town council operates at a meeting on November 29, calling for more public participation in the budget.

If voted in, the motion would "give the citizens of Penrith a more empowered say in how and on what public money is spent in Penrith through their direct participation in the decision-making process."

The Community Participatory Budget, if approved, would be brought in for the 2022/2023 financial year with an initial £10,000 allocation from the Corporate Budget.

But not everyone is convinced by the idea. Labour councillor Scott Jackson said: "While the principal of involving residents in formulating the budget is of course a laudible one, I would point out that we're supposed to be a representative democracy. We send councillors to the town council to make these decisions."

Cllr Jackson is concerned that the motion could frustrate the process. He said: "It's going to take a lot of work to create a system that satisfies all the rules and regulations that a town council has to adhere to on spending money.

"When it comes to devolving that power to the people, I'm yet to be convinced that the processes are thorough enough to [ensure] value for money."

The key values of a participatory budget are: local ownership, direct involvement, support for representative democracy, mainstream involvement, accessibility, transparency, deliberation, empowerment, shared responsibility.

In his proposal for the town council, Cllr Davies said: "Over the next few years as well as recovery from the social and economic impact of the Pandemic and Brexit, Penrith along with the rest of Cumbria will face a rapid reshaping of local government over the next 12 months that will shift the local focus and delivery of the upper tiers of local government that risk local focused projects and community needs becoming overlooked by the new unitary council due to the geographical coverage and focus.

"This presents the need for Penrith Town Council to step up to ensure the needs of Penrith and citizens we serve have the opportunity and funding to deliver community led projects."