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Parish councils owe their origin in England and Wales to the Local Government Act 1894. The 1974 reorganisation of local government retained parish councils in England, but in Wales their place was taken by community councils. There are over 9000 parish councils in England and 734 community councils in Wales.

Parish and community councils are elected by their local electorate and have various powers and duties to provide local services and to represent the interests of their area. They can raise income from council tax by issuing a precept to the relevant billing authority.