Mr Alun Michael (Minister of State (Rural Affairs), Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs; Cardiff South and Penarth, Labour/Co-operative)
The number is very small indeed, but I have received many letters from parish councillors around the country welcoming the way in which the Government are strengthening the role of parish councils. We have given those councils grants so that they have money to spend on matters such as transport and the development of parish plans. That allows parish councils to develop their role and to look after their communities' interests. A few Conservative parish councillors have stood down, and some people have been misled by incorrect information being circulated by a member of the Conservative party. The Government are working with parish councils, local government and the people who represent rural communities across the country.