In 5 weeks, on May 4th, Mansfield residents will go to the polls in the local elections. Currently, Mansfield District Council is run by Labour, as they won the last elected for the position of Mayor by just TWO VOTES.
As well as the Mayor, Mansfield will be voting for 36 local Councillors for the area around your home. Nobody has an overall majority of these seats on the Council currently.
For the last 20 years and more, we’ve had either Labour or the Independents running things, and so these parties have a record in office that speaks for itself. The Conservatives have never run Mansfield District Council in my life time.
At the local elections you’re being asked to vote on how the most essential services are run. From town centre parking, premises licensing, leisure facilities, bin collections and, crucially, housing. Different Councils run different services, so it’s important to know that these elections are NOT related to highways, social care, or children’s services, which are County Council services that will be decided in 2025.
Mansfield District Council are responsible for all sorts of local services. A lot of residents will be aware that they collect your wheelie bins, they are responsible for social housing including maintenance and repairs, and they are responsible for local planning decisions. Less well known, is that they also hold the pen on lots of decisions related to things like town centre regeneration, community safety and housing homeless people. These are a really important range of services that impact on our day to day lives.
At this election it’s important that residents reflect on both the provision and availability of these services, and think about the value for money they’ve had over the last couple of decades, versus whether that has ever met their expectations – are things good or can we do better?
I get a lot of comments from residents about how MDC’s current administration handles these local services, many email into my Parliamentary Office to ask for help – issues which my team often unfortunately have no say over resolving but do our utmost to work with MDC to address. I know as the leader of the County Council that no administration is immune from the external pressures on our finances that we must deal with.
However, it’s incumbent on Councils to live within their means, just as all households do across the country. When it’s necessary to tighten our belts, we should be able to act knowing we’ve taken a responsible approach to public finances, that allows us to continue to support local services whilst tackling the current economic climate.
So, with that in mind, can I encourage everyone to vote in the upcoming local elections, to consider very carefully how you feel about those services that I’ve mentioned, and of course, if you want something to change, go and vote for it. If you don’t vote, then don’t be surprised if you don’t get the outcome that you want!