New local government minister gives first speech at NALC conference
The newly appointed minister for local government, Lee Rowley MP, gave his very first speech to the National Association of Local Councils (NALC) Empowering Communities conference on 7 November 2022.
Lee Rowley MP, parliamentary under secretary of state in the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, said: "This is the first speech that I am making as local government minister, so it's an absolute pleasure to be able to make that to colleagues in the parish council sphere.
"Parish councils are incredibly important for the success and the health and happiness of our local communities.
"Thank you for all the work you've done during a very important year…another year where you and your colleagues have been on the front line, and you've done so many other things that matter to people in this country.
"All but only a tiny part of my constituency is parished and it's given me a brilliant insight into the fantastic work that local councils do in very different circumstances….I am so much in awe of local parish councils.
"Our community spaces, networks, and relationships are the bedrock on what thriving communities are built. One of the ways in which we want to support that is for example, trying to start making it easier to set up parish councils, with the right resources, powers, and information that those councils can reflect the interests of their communities and drive forward locally tailored solutions to local problems, as you all do every single day.
"Ensuring that we have the right kind of development… that's fundamental to the success of the levelling up mission. Parish councils have an absolutely leading role to play in that, particularly in neighbourhood planning, which I'm personally a very big advocate of.
"I'm very grateful for those who responded to our remote meetings call for evidence and I hope we will have some further things to say on that in the not-too-distant future. I know that many council members are keen for that to occur.
"We don't have a magic wand…but where we can help, we want to do so and you will always have somebody who is very keen to find out more, very keen to listen and very keen to work with you."