Peter Lilley, MP for Hitchin and Harpenden, warned today that Hertfordshire?s parish councils face soaring costs and declining membership as a result of new Whitehall red-tape.
Peter Lilley said:
“Parish councils play an important role in giving a say to local people about local issues across Hertfordshire. But they now face being regulated out of existence:
? To obtain extra funding, they will now have to meet centrally-set Whitehall targets.
? Large parishes could face new audit and inspection costs of up to ?30,000 a year, because of new, so-called ?Best Value? bureaucracy.
? A new code of conduct will force parish councillors to disclose their personal and financial interests, and those of their family and relatives. Parish councillors in Hertfordshire are honest and well intentioned. The introduction of such intrusive rules may cause some to give up their voluntary work and will discourage others from standing for the position.
“I value the work of Hertfordshire?s parish councillors. But I fear these regulations could result in fewer people willing to become involved in parish councils across the country. If that were to happen, we might see the Labour Government trying to abolish them all together.?