4 Reasons Why Your Vote in the Local Election Matters – A Lot
The biggest UK election since the EU referendum is happening tomorrow (May 4th) and people across the country will be going to the polls. This vote isn’t the one that’s been all over the news, and it’s got nothing to do with Brexit or politics in London. But I promise this vote matters – a lot.
I’m a musician and four years ago I started a petition to stop my local council from making my livelihood, busking, a finable offence. I managed to get 4,000 signatures and, working with my council, eventually won my campaign. Since then I have started 16 more petitions helping local communities fight for their rights. In 5 years I’ve never had to go to Parliament or campaign to change a law. I have got my local authority make the changes I wanted.
Although we don’t hear much about local councils, I have seen first-hand the impact they have. Local council and mayoral elections are happening tomorrow and ahead of this, I wanted to share 4 reasons why local authorities matter as much Westminster – and why (if you can) you should vote:
1. Your local authorities control more than you might think
Yes the laws are passed in Westminster but your local authorities control the things that govern your day-to-day life, like: schools, waste services and social care. I have seen petitions against local councils that include everything from bird feeding to homelessness.
2. If you are getting a new mayor, they are going to be responsible for even more
In 6 parts of the country people are electing a mayor for the first time – that’s exciting. These new mayors aren’t just ceremonial, they intend to take power out of Westminster and put it into your community’s hands. You can find out if your area is getting one and what powers they will have here.
3. You can talk directly to the people that are in charge
If you are trying to make change getting a meeting with the national minister responsible is pretty tough for most of us. Meeting a local representative on the other hand – it’s a lot more achievable and quicker to do. With a quick Google search you can find out who is responsible for the change you want to make locally and arrange a meeting to talk through the issue that matters to you.
4. They listen to their community – this makes it easier to win campaigns
In my experience local authorities can be really responsive to campaigns if you can make it clear how your campaign will benefit the community. It matters to them that their community is happy. It’s this framing that has helped me to win 7 of my campaigns.
Westminster matters but it isn’t everything – my story is proof of that.
Your local authorities have a lot of power over your day-to-day lives. I have seen the difference good representatives can make so make sure you have your say. Check out your local council website to see the candidates manifestos, then look here to find your local polling station.
Local election turnout is historically low but let’s change that this year because this is the vote that really counts when it comes to your daily life.
Founder of Keep Streets Alive Campaign