Councils across the country are celebrating Local Democracy Week. But in many local authorities, democracy is suffering.
As in Westminster, First Past the Post is causing havoc in local councils across England and Wales. Shockingly, in some areas opposition candidates don’t bother standing as First Past the Post means they have no hope of being elected. In other areas, councils control 100% of the council on less than 60% of the vote.
This Local Democracy Week the Electoral Reform Society wants to share the real story of local democracy in Britain.
Uncontested Seats on the Rise – tweet
First Past the Post’s winner takes all nature means sometimes it’s not even worth trying. Eden District Council in Cumbria had already declared 21 of its 38 available seats before the 2015 elections had even taken place. A clear majority of the council (55%) was returned with no one voting at all.
100% of the Power on 60% of the Vote – tweet
East Hertfordshire and Mid Sussex for the Conservatives, and Manchester and Newham for Labour are all 100% controlled by one party – all on less than 60% of the vote.
The Cost of One-Party Councils – tweet
What happens when there is no opposition on a local council? ERS found that ‘one-party councils’ could be missing out on savings of around £2.6bn when compared to their more competitive counterparts.
It’s time England and Wales caught up.
Sign the Electoral Reform Society’s petition to fix our local democracy today.