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Local Elections 2022: Use Your Vote!

Kerri Prince, BASW Public and Political Affairs Lead, previews this week's local elections...

This Thursday (5 May), millions of people across the UK will be able to cast their vote in an election for their area.

Many areas in England, Wales and Scotland have local council elections, with Northern Ireland having elections to their Assembly.

Using your vote is one of the best ways to create positive change, as the parties campaigning for your vote will be making promises about what they will deliver if they are elected. In some elections, these may be promises about social care and social work.

In England, Wales and Scotland, the results of these local elections are used to inform the narrative about who may win the next UK General Election. A positive result for the Conservatives may secure Boris Johnson’s long-term premiership, whereas a rise in smaller parties could cause doubt as to what a General Election would result in.

If Labour are serious about winning Government next time around, they will need to do well in areas such as Scotland, where currently the Scottish National Party hold 45 of the 59 Westminster seats.

There is much debate about what influences people to vote a certain way. Despite the elections being about local councils in England, Scotland and Wales, there is significant evidence to suggest that people still vote with national parties in mind. This makes local council elections almost a referendum on the state of national politics. But how you determine who to vote for is up to nobody else but yourself.

The polls will close at 10pm, and the 24 hours that follow will be full of results and analysis about what this means for the broader political picture in the UK. Many local authorities will count from 10pm immediately after the polls close, with others instead starting the following morning.

If you haven’t yet decided who to vote for, we encourage you to do some research:

  • Google your local political parties, or search for them on Facebook and see what their key policies are
  • Consider your current representatives. Do they do a good job? Do you want them to carry on in the role?
  • Think about what message you want to send to your local politicians. Do you want to voice your opposition to the increased cost of living through your vote? Is there a local issue that the Council has performed poorly on? Let your vote be your voice!

Whoever you decide to vote for, use your vote on Thursday. If you have a postal vote, send it back ASAP – or simply take it along to your local polling station on election day.