My honourable friend the Minister for Local Government (John Healey) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.
In February this year, during the parliamentary debates on the structural change orders for Cornwall, County Durham, Northumberland, Shropshire and Wiltshire, a number of honourable Members raised concerns about the deferral of parish council elections in these areas until 2013. In the light of the strong views expressed the Government undertook to consult the implementation executives in the areas concerned, seeking their views and those of others in local government with an interest as to whether it would be more appropriate to hold all parish council elections in 2009.
From the responses received, it is clear that there is very little support for holding parish council elections in 2009 in the affected areas. Given the range of evidence and views expressed, the Government will not be amending the arrangements for parish council elections in the relevant orders. As a result, with the few exceptions provided for in those orders, future parish council elections in Cornwall, County Durham, Northumberland, Shropshire and Wiltshire will be held in 2013.