The Localism Act 2011 gave Government the power to make an annual decision regarding precept referendums for parish and town councils, where they deemed increases in the precept were "excessive". To date the threat has not been carried out, and our precept remains the council's decision. This year's consultation paper asks for clear evidence of how our sector is responding to the economic challenges (by this Government means restraint). The paper mentions the need to use reserves, unless earmarked. We do encourage all councils to plan their budget not just for the coming year, but for at least the next two years - so saving and putting their money into earmarked reserves for their community projects.