On Thursday people across the Bradford District will go to the polls for this year’s local Council elections.
Here is what they will be voting on, and why their vote matters.
WHAT ARE WE VOTING ON?
Thursday’s local elections will see a third of the seats on Bradford Council up for grabs – 30 out of the 90 that make up the Council.
Bradford Council operates under an electoral system that sees Councillors face re-election every four years.
For three years in this four-year cycle, there are elections where a third of Councillors face re-election. The fourth-year is election free.
The cycle then begins again.
Every registered voter in the Bradford District will be asked to vote for a single person to sit as one of the three Councillors that make up their electoral ward.
Councils are responsible for local services including social care, public health, cultural services and highways. They are funded through a mix of Government grants, Council Tax, Business Rates and income from parking and services like leisure centres and theatres.
Residents of Ilkley and Oxenhope will also be asked to vote in a referendum on the respective neighbourhood plans for those areas, which will shape future development.
WHAT IS A COUNCILLOR?
Councillors are people elected to represent an area called a ward.
They do not need to belong to a specific political party, although the vast majority of Councillors that sit on Bradford Council belong to either the Labour, Conservative, Liberal Democrat or Green parties.
Being a Councillor is not a paid job, although each Councillor earns a basic allowance of £13,042.
Councillors with more responsibilities, such as sitting on committees or being responsible for a portfolio, have higher allowances.
Having been elected by the public, Councillors cannot be “fired” by the authority – although they can be kicked out of their political party.
WHAT IS THE CURRENT MAKE UP OF BRADFORD COUNCIL?
Labour is currently in control of Bradford Council, with 51 out of the 90 seats available. 46 seats are required for a party to hold a majority.
The Conservatives are the next biggest party on the Council, with 22 Councillors.
The Liberal Democrats have seven seats, and the Green Party three.
The rest of the Council is made up of independents.
WHAT ARE THE MAIN ISSUES IN THIS ELECTION?
Although these elections are for Local Councils, national issues are still likely to loom large in voters’ minds.
Nationally, polls suggest that controversies over parties at Downing Street during lockdown and other political scandals could harm the Conservative’s chances in local elections.
Perceived failures in the Government’s “leveling up” agenda, such as Government scrapping much of their Northern Powerhouse Rail scheme, have also been highlighted by many candidates.
In Bradford issues including the upcoming Clean Air Zone plans, the recent failures of the Council’s Children’s Services Department and differing views about regeneration projects across the District have also been raised as election issues by many candidates.
WHEN WILL WE FIND OUT THE RESULTS?
The polls close at 10pm on Thursday, and the count will begin on Friday morning.
Results are likely to start coming in on Friday afternoon.