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27.04.17

Local polls must not be forgotten in ‘fog’ of general election

The UK’s leading political parties have today been reminded to not forget about the local elections with a week to go before voters go to the polls to choose who represents their interests at council level.

Today, the Local Government Information Unit (LGiU) alongside the County Councils Network (CCN) have told politicians to mobilise rapidly and campaign on local issues in council areas across England, Scotland and Wales before the vote takes place on 4 May, only a month before the snap general election recently called by prime minister Theresa May.

The two organisations have also launched a campaign called Out for the Count, which aims to promote the importance of county elections and local services that are provided in these authorities.

It will also provide live results coverage and analysis with insights into what’s happening in local authorities and the implication the vote will have on the country as a whole.

On top of that, the 4 May elections this year mark an important moment as six areas, Greater Manchester, Tees Valley, Cambridge and Peterborough, Liverpool City-Region, West of England and the West Midlands vote for their first combined authority mayors.

Jonathan Carr-West, chief executive at the LGiU, said: “Political parties form a large majority of council groups across the country. As such many will be in full battle mode for the general election in June. However, they also need to remember that local electorates in our county areas and in the combined authorities are voting on local issues and local records.

“These records should not be forgotten in the fog of a general election campaign which is about placing bums on green benches in the House of Commons.”

Carr-West also stated that this vote was about real, community democracy in which local political parties produce clear and innovative solutions for their communities.

And Simon Edwards, director of the CCN, added that county authorities were responsible for £30bn a funding for essential public services – including adult social care and children’s services as well as roads, schools and investment in vital local infrastructure.

“Our historic counties are not only important but part of our national identity: that’s why it is essential that the 25 million people who live in counties go out and cast their vote in May,” he said.

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As PSE went to press, we were days away from finding out which political party or parties would be leading the country following Theresa May’s decision to call a snap general election for 8 June.  Whoever enters the door at No.10, irrelevant of their political colour, is faced with serious challenges, from social care to the NHS, housing to the economy, and, of course, the all-consuming and imminent Brexit negotiations which will have ramifications for generations to... read more >