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Council Elections – why don’t people vote?

April 11, 2019 9:15 AM

The BBC has recently produced some insight into why voter turnouts in Local Government elections is diminishing at an alarming rate.

At a time when national political awareness is at an all-time high (surely there isn't a single voter who hasn't heard of Brexit!), the trend for voting is local elections is at an alarming low.

Rachael Farrington, founder of Voting Counts - a campaign to encourage voters to register - said "Many of the people we speak to feel there is a disconnect between politics and their everyday lives. Everyone has issues they care about, from local planning and leisure facilities to bin collections and schools, but it can be difficult to identify how local councils operate and affect these issues.

"There is also little national attention paid to the roles councils and councilors play in communities. While national politics continues to dominate the headlines, it can appear that change can only happen via Westminster - and those making decisions at a local level are neglected of the due attention, and scrutiny, they deserve."

It is important for people to understand the role councils play in deciding what to do with the money provided to them by central Government. It determines how our schools are funded, what planning decisions are taken, and even how regularly our bins are collected.

Rachael Farrington added "Your local council has an impact on many of the services you see and use every day, including housing, transport and public spaces and services. Choices made by the council will have a visible impact on your community, so engaging in local elections is the best way to have your say over who is making these decisions.

"Local councils set the rates of council tax for your area; these rates have a direct impact on your income as well as the services in your area.

"Councillors represent a much smaller group of people than MPs do, that means your single vote is more likely to make an impact on the result."

Wyre Forest Lib Dem Team are committed to ensuring they put the needs of our communities at the centre of any funding decisions. They acknowledge that, in these austere times, funding choices are extremely difficult, and sometimes tough choices need to be made. However, by working closely with our local communities, and taking time to listen and engage with communities as a whole, they do strongly believe they have the ability to make a positive difference to the area.

Shazu Miah, Chair of Wyre Forest Liberal Democrats says, "We are asking voters to consider carefully the choices they make on 2nd May 2019, consider who you think would best represent your interests locally and who would work tirelessly on your behalf".

Voting doesn't take up very much time of your day, polling stations are open from 7am to 10pm, and for those unable to go out to vote, there is still time to register for a postal vote.

This is the chance to speak out here in Wyre Forest and to have your say on what matters most to you.