Rt Hon Lord Lilley

    Peter Lilley, MP for Hitchin and Harpenden, today criticised the government as ?insensitive and insulting? for its secret labelling of Sandridge Parish Council as ?barely active?. “Questions in Parliament have exposed that the Countryside Agency is pigeon-holing every parish council in England into performance categories, without even consulting local communities?, Peter Lilley said.

    “The government?s secret labelling of Sandridge Parish Council as lazy and inactive is an insult to every hard-working parish councillor of all parties and none. In my experience it is also untrue. I have worked with the Parish Council which has raised important issues ? like the flooding in the village. Our local parish councils play a vital role in our community life ? a fact lost on distant Whitehall pen-pushers and quangos.

    “This insensitive move comes on top of Labour?s new red-tape for parish councils, which will entail soaring audit costs and discouraging volunteers from getting involved. It is yet more evidence that Labour have an axe to grind against parish councils. Rubbishing our parish councils is probably only the first step in a systematic campaign from Whitehall which could pave the way for Labour to phase out parish councils completely.?