Local elections will take place on 6 May 2021, seven weeks from today. All Shropshire Council unitary seats will be up for grabs as well as all the seats in town and parish councils. There will also be an election for the Police and Crime Commissioner.
Elections are important. It is a time for you to make your views known. To lobby existing councillors and to stand yourself on a ticket that reflects your beliefs.
Shropshire Council feels and looks old. A lot of councillors will retire in May allowing new councillors with new ideas to join the council. Ludlow Town Council needs a refresh of councillors to take it forward into post-Covid recovery and to become a heritage town that is thoroughly modern in the way it works.
It is time to stand and time to vote.
With so many elections taking place across the country, Thursday 6 May is already being described in American parlance as a “Super Thursday”. It is vital that it does not become a super spreader Thursday. Covid infection rates are now low but we saw last year that infection rates can shoot up quickly. Vaccination for the under 50s is being delayed due to a shortage of vaccine supplies and most people haven’t had their second jab. Even after the second jab, it will be two weeks or so before patients achieve maximum protection. And even then, a small number of people could fall victim to Covid-19 or spread it.
I don’t want to sound gloomy or create any scare. But I think this should be the year in which postal voting becomes the normal way of voting. Apply for a postal vote…
If asked to describe my life as a unitary councillor in three words, they would be: demanding, frustrating, rewarding. For me, it is about having a role in the community. I have responsibility but no formal powers. The way I influence policies and decisions is through the power of voice. Officers, developers and professionals in many fields recognise that councillors are the voice of their community and that gives us a lot of influence.
Town and parish councillors are unpaid and do not receive paid expenses for travel etc. except in exceptional circumstances. There is no allowance for computing and phone use. Councils differ in the expenses paid to the Mayor. Shrewsbury Town Council owns a car and retains a chauffeur to drive the mayor around, an extraordinary anachronism in an era of shrinking local government finances. But it is the exception that proves the rule.
Shropshire councillors receive £11,514 annually. They are supplied with basic computer equipment, including a secure laptop that allows access to virtual council meetings and voting. They can receive expenses for travel to meetings they attend as a councillor, although many councillors do not claim. Phone and printing costs etc. cannot be claimed. The record of councillor expenses will be updated at the end of this month.
I am currently a member of two councils and will seek to extend this to three.
I will again be standing for Shropshire Council in the Ludlow North ward which I will currently represent.
I’ll also stand for Bromfield Parish Council which I will chair until May. It has proved to be a effective council that has got a lot done since it was resurrected in February 2018.
I already deal with a lot of issues in my local area, which is Ludlow Town Council Gallows Bank Ward, because I am on the spot and everyone knows I am councillor. I could make better progress on matters if I represent the area where I live. I will be standing for Gallows Bank Ward in May.