Parish/Town councils can act only if they have the legal power to do so – that is, when a specific Act of Parliament allows it.
In practice there are few activities a parish council cannot undertake – however, if a specific power does not appear to exist section 137 of the Local Government Act 1972 gives a local council the power to do anything that will benefit, wholly or partly, the community. The expenditure must be commensurate with the benefit to the community and there is an annual limit – for 2013-2014 this is £6.98 per elector.
Local councils have specific powers in relation to:
Baths and washhouses
Burial grounds, cemeteries & crematoria
Citizens Advice Bureaux
Commons & common pastures
Entertainment & the arts
Mortuaries and post mortem rooms
Parish property & documents
Public buildings and village hall
Parks & pleasure grounds
Town & Country Planning