§ Mr. Nicholas Winterton
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what plans the Government have to introduce neighbourhood forums in place of parish and town councils. 
§ Ms Beverley Hughes
Neighbourhood Forums could have a valuable role in making local government more effective, but the Government do not intend that they should take the place of parish councils. Our White Paper, "Modern Local Government: In Touch with the People", set out our policy that parish councils are an essential part of the structure of local democracy in our country and that they would continue to play a vital part in the life of our towns, villages and rural communities, as they have in the past.