The upcoming Local Elections, on the 6 May 2021, are some of the most important this country will ever have. Across the United Kingdom, there are over 5,300 seats up for election, which is simply a huge number.

Whilst media coverage has historically given more attention to national elections, I want to emphasise the importance of the local elections and the impact it will have on you. Local councils are in charge of local public services, and account for 25% of total public spending. They manage a wide array of services, including litter collection, planning applications, maintenance of libraries and parks and roads, and that’s to name just a few!

Local councils also have partial control of taxes, including council tax and business rates. On top of this, the government have granted them the power to raise council tax by up to 5%. This decision is up to your local council, and I hope this example demonstrates their importance on each and every one of our lives, and why therefore if we can vote, we should.

Furthermore, the magnitude of these local elections and their importance highlights why it has never been a better time to get involved with politics. Due to the pandemic, councils have been damaged by lower income tax rates from local business and public services, such as leisure centres. This has been exacerbated by the fact that many councils have had to deal with cuts in their budgets, dating all the way back to the GFC recovery plan in 2010.

As a Studenteer, I am looking to create as many summer projects geared towards supporting your local councils and political projects as possible, because now more than ever local councils need the help of their neighbourhoods. COVID-19 has shown how important teamwork in the local community is, and many councils have done tremendously to assist the government (for example, in their test and trace efforts). Ultimately, it comes down to me and you to support our local community, and I hope some of you will share that responsibility with me in support of our local heroes.

By Joseph Watchorn for Studenteer

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