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Vote less and save £195,000, Gloucester City Council proposal suggests

By citizenmike  |  Posted: January 21, 2014

By Mike Wilkinson and Kieran Jones

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Elections every four years could save £195,000

Comments (5)

HOLDING city elections every four years might save council bosses £195,000 but some voters don’t believe it is a good idea.

Gloucester city councillors will this Thursday debate the idea of changing the way city residents elect them.

Currently they are voted in by thirds every year for three years, with no election in the fourth year.

But voting for every seat once every four years could save the council £195,000 between this year and 2020.

Scott White, from Tuffley, said: “As someone who votes I prefer that the elections are on a yearly basis as more things could possibly go wrong over a longer period of time.

“If the change was made and they manage to save that amount of money then I would like to know what the savings would be spent on.”

Rosaline Browning, from Longlevens, said: “I do not vote but I think that if the elections are ever year it allows the public to stay more up to date with what is happening.

“I think it is good for them to make the savings on the other hand they would need to spend the money in the right ways for it to really have a benefit.”

Elections between now and 2020 will cost some £445,000 for the city under the current system, compared to just £250,000 under the new proposal.

If councillors agree that they want to change the system they will have to consult the public before any changes can be made.

The consultation would be started through the pages of the Citizen and would run between February 10 and March 7, with a report being produced in time for a special meeting of all councillors on March 27.

Penny Williams, democratic and services manager for the city council, said: “Since the first elections to the Council in 1973, elections have been held by thirds, with elections to Gloucestershire County Council being held in the fourth year.”

If the all-out elections are approved in March, the first election would be in May 2016 and would cost £125,000.

The review is being forced upon the council by the Local Government Boundary Commission for England. All councils across the country are undertaking the review.

Geoff Wheeler, leader of Stroud District Council, which is also undertaking a review, said: “An answer as to why the change to all-out elections hasn't been made before is that the change to the parliamentary election cycle and the introduction of elections for police commissioners means that the timing of the local elections to coincide with other elections can influence the costs over four years.

“For Stroud this could now provide considerable savings in the cost of elections.”

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5 comments

  • uk_socrates  |  January 22 2014, 11:54AM

    Some good points by @The Selector. Surely we can now make a pretty cheap app/website where people can vote either through a website or smartphone app? Surely there must be practical ways to bring the cost of voting down?. Or how about we make it every 5 years, and we vote for the pointless crime commissioner, MP'S, MEP'S, and Councillors all at the same time? Most people don't bother to read party manifestos anyway, so voting in this country is largely a complete waste of money anyway. Most people usually just vote for the same party regardless of their policies. Also it doesn't help that the three main parties have pretty much the same policies..... One day I think the people might rise up, and get rid of elected people all together, and instead massive decisions like what should the top rate of tax be? and should we invaded country "x" in the name of peace? etc can be decided by the POPULATION on an app.

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  • The_Selector  |  January 22 2014, 9:42AM

    Four-year cycles where every seat is up for re-election seems a good idea for a number of reasons, aside from the cost savings, which are fairly minimal it seems. At the moment, it is very difficult for the electorate to have any impact at all on the direction of the city council year-on-year, whereas 'all out' elections give voters the opportunity to change the controlling party overnight. Party funding is also an issue. It costs political parties a great deal to run election campaigns on an annual basis. At a time where their funding is falling, there is a real possibility that political parties may be part-funded by the public purse at some point in the future. The more their costs can be reduced, the greater the chance of at least delaying public funding of political parties.

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  • gloscityguy  |  January 22 2014, 6:45AM

    we should make it every six months, they do a **** job, and they are gone.

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  • JemmyWood  |  January 21 2014, 6:28PM

    only 195K? we could save that by just cutting certain councillors. Of course councillors will vote for whatever allows them to have their snouits in the trough for as long as possible.

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  • Apothegm_  |  January 21 2014, 4:24PM

    Now who was it who said, "If voting changed anything they would make it illegal"?

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