The Government have introduced legislation making it harder for people to petition their local council.

Over 8 pages of the Local Democracy, Economic Development and Construction Bill are dedicated to setting conditions on the form petitions to local councils can take. The section runs to 3,221 words of primary legislation, with further statutory guidance expected to follow.

Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords are mounting an attack on the Government’s ridiculous proposals to force local Councils in England and Wales to spend time and resources on setting up and managing these complicated bureaucratic procedures.

Commenting ahead of his attempt to remove the legislation from the Bill, Liberal Democrat Local Government Spokesperson Lord (Tony) Greaves said, “This Bill gives councils the chance to throw out the vast majority of petitions they receive because they will not be ‘valid’ according to the bureaucratic and legalistic rules they want to set into law.

“Far from helping people to put forward their views, they will make it a lot harder. “I have been an elected Councillor for about thirty years in total and I have been a member of the Lords for nearly nine years and I have never seen anything quite as silly as this.

“It’s Gulliver politics. This Lilliputian government is seeking to tie up Councils in red tape and detailed rules which will cover every single thing they do, just as Gulliver was tied up on the beach.”

“Instead of wasting councils’ time and resources, they should be freeing councils’ hands to provide support to local people during the economic crisis.

It is expected that the House of Lords will debate the relevant sections of the Bill today, Monday 26 January 2009.

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