Everything you need to know about the upcoming Council Elections this May

Photo by secretlondon123

Voters across Kent will take to the polls this Thursday to take part in local elections.

More than 8,200 council seats are up for grabs across England and Northern Ireland – half of them are currently vacated by the Conservatives.

Canterbury City Council is composed of 38 councillors, across 21 electoral wards. The Council is currently Conservative-led, with the Tories holding a comprehensive majority.

Going into the election the council is made up of 28 Conservatives councillors, four councillors for Labour and the Liberal Democrats respectively, and three independents.

Councils are responsible for a number of tasks including rubbish collecting, recycling, collecting council tax, housing, and planning applications. They also get to scrutinise policy and are in charge of spending the money that is given to them by central government.

Turnout is expected to be as low as 30%. The Guardian have claimed there is a general feeling of apathy and anger with politicians from across the spectrum, according to multiple party sources.

The Tories have briefed candidates that they are expecting a “drubbing”, which could mean gains for both Labour and the Liberal Democrats.

In a special meeting last Wednesday, district Conservatives passed a no-confidence motion in Prime Minister Theresa May “by an overwhelming majority” due to her failure to oversee the UK’s departure from the European Union.

Chairman of the Canterbury Conservative Association, Greig Baker, shredded into Theresa May’s “unedifying, infuriating and destructive” approach over Brexit last month in an email to local members, writing: “I am as angry as anyone about events in Westminster.”

Canterbury became a marginal seat two years ago after Labour’s Rosie Duffield’s momentous victory over Conservative Sir Julian Brazier in the 2017 general election, making her the first non-Conservative Member of Parliament to represent Canterbury since the constituency’s reformulation in 1885.

The Liberal Democrats, led by leader and Westgate councillor, Michael Dixey, have managed to strike a non-aggression pact with the Green party to enhance its prospects in a selection of targeted wards where their vote has traditionally split in the past.

Nationally, Labour have pledged new funding of £1.3bn a year to reverse cuts made to bus routes by the Tories since 2010, to fund the expansion of bus services, and to increase in the number of home care packages for the elderly and people living with dementia.

The Conservatives meanwhile are running on a platform of efficient local services and low council tax.

Polling stations will be open from 7am to 10pm on Thursday. Voters already registered to vote will have already be receiving polling cards.

The first set of results will begin to be announced at around midnight but Press Associates (PA) had predicted that the result for Canterbury City Council will come at around 5pm the following day.

The links for manifestos for each Political Party’s Canterbury groups can be found below:

Labour manifesto: https://www.canterburylabour.org.uk

Conservative manifesto: https://www.canterburyconservatives.com/manifesto

Green manifesto: http://www.canterburygreenparty.org.uk/p/our-manifesto.html

Liberal Democrat manifesto: https://cantlibdem.org.uk/en/