Local elections 2021: What you are voting for, who your candidates are and how it works

Matt Hancock shut down by Stayt as he talks about local elections

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The local elections were meant to take place in May 2020, but were delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Now, in a very different world, 143 local English councils are facing a campaign unlike any other, as the big parties wait to see how they’ve fared since the 2019 general election.

When is the election?

The local elections will take place on Thursday, May 6.

Voting will take place in person with social distancing measures in place, though postal votes are expected to be a popular choice this year.

You can head HERE to check if you’re registered to vote – note the deadline to register was April 19 so you’ve missed it if you haven’t registered yet.

Who are your candidates?

Note that not all councils are being elected this year.

However, some 28 million people will be able to vote for about 4,650 positions of power, so you should check if you’re among them.

You can head HERE to check if you’re involved and read more about your local candidates.

What are you voting for?

These elections will see citizens choosing their local councillors in either town or parish councils, district councils, county councils or unitary authorities.

All councillors are elected for four years, but not all council seats are up for election this year as some councils hold elections for seats once every two years, or even three years out of four.

The elections will decide who is in charge of local public services and how they are run.

These include providing care for the elderly and disabled, maintaining and fixing roads, collecting rubbish, providing libraries and other local service, planning applications, and more.

While coronavirus is widely understood to be the main concern for voters at this stage, issues such as council tax hikes, housing developments and bus routes will all play a part in campaigning.

The results will also give an indication of how popular the parties are performing nationally.

This will be the first real political test for new Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer and the new Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey, as well as a test for Boris Johnson to see how well he’s performed since his landslide victory in 2019.

How are the winners chosen?

Voters have one vote for each available seat in their area in most cases, but large wards may have several seats.

Whoever receives the most votes wins the seat.

If one party wins more than half the council seats, they have control of the council.

If no party has a majority, parties will often join forces, which is known as a coalition.

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