Local Council Elections

Andrew Marsden of our Batley Office and Chairman of the Batley Business Association takes a look at the upcoming local council elections.

On 05 May it is the local Council elections, and do you know what? You need to vote in them. They are – and contrary to what I have already heard people saying – important. In fact they are very important, because arguably the outcome of these elections will have a greater day to day bearing on your life than the general election. And, also contrary to some comments I have heard, it does make a difference whether you vote or not.

Kirklees Council is made up of 69 councillors, and between them they decide on pretty much everything that the Council does, and with all the cut backs, does not do. Often, these are not small decisions, nor in many cases are they easy ones. There are numerous committees and portfolios, which decide on everything from social care to street lighting; from planning to public funding of community events. And you get to help decide who is going to make those decisions for you.

By now, the glossy leaflets will be coming through the letterbox, telling you all about the candidates. You may even get a knock on the door. If so use the opportunity, ask questions, find out what your local candidates are all about. Ask them about what they intend to do, not just what they have done.

We are fortunate that this area has a history of local councillors who support their communities. Most are there to be seen, working to do what they do in our towns. At the Batley Business Association we have first hand experience of the fantastic help and support Councillors can give. Batley Vintage Day for example would not have been possible but for the support of our District Committee.

You are never going to agree with every decision that your local councillors make. That would be impossible. Just as it is impossible for the councillors to keep everyone happy, election leaflets and promises notwithstanding. But, these elections are not about finding the candidate who agrees with everything you think. It is about find the right people to make the decisions. So, back to where I came in…Vote.

first published in the Batley News on 21 April 2016