Local elections 2021 explained – Everything you need to know

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

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Local elections are due to take place across the UK in May. Voters across the country will head to the polls to cast their votes for devolved and local elections, with parliamentary elections being held in Scotland and Wales, whilst English voters are due to undertake local elections in many areas. Express.co.uk has compiled a helpful guide to explain everything you need to know as polling day draws closer.

When are the local elections?

Local elections are happening across England within days, but local elections are not happening in all areas.

An estimated 28 million people will be eligible to head to the polls to vote in about 4,650 officials.

This year, these local elections will take place on May 6.

Who can vote in local elections?

Voters must be 18 or over and must also be:

  • registered at an address in the area where they want to vote
  • a British citizen, an Irish or EU citizen or an eligible Commonwealth citizen
  • not legally excluded from voting

What am I voting for?

Voters across England will be able to vote for their local councillors on May 6.

These elections are not related to parliament, but instead, decide who runs local councils which have the power over local services.

In total, 143 councils will be voted on across the country in May.

Of these, 47 are held by the Conservatives while 54 are held by Labour.

A further six are held by the Liberal Democrats, with 33 under “no overall control”.

What does my local council do?

Local councils provide a wide variety of important services to their municipalities.

Councils also enforce federal, state and local laws in different communities.

The most important areas which are governed by local councils including public health, traffic, parking, animal management, social care, schools, housing, planning and waste collection.

Less known responsibilities include licensing, business support, registrar services and pest control.

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Who are the candidates in my area?

There are different rules and candidates depending on your location.

On May 6, voters will cast their ballots on:

  • 143 England local councils
  • 13 directly-elected Mayors
  • 39 Police and Crime Commissioners
  • 25 Local Assembly seats
  • 129 Scottish Parliament MSPs
  • 60 Welsh Senedd MSs
  • By-elections
  • Neighbourhood Plan referendums
  • Parish Councils.

You can use the tool below to find out the candidates you will be able to vote for on May 6. Simply enter your postcode into our widget to find out who’s up for election near you.

You can also find out more about candidates here.

Am I voting for a new Police and Crime Commissioner too?

A Police and Crime Commissioner is an elected official in England and Wales who is responsible for securing efficient and effective policing.

These individuals represent local people and hold the police to account, as well as overseeing how crime is handled in their area.

Every police force area is represented by a PCC, except Greater Manchester and London, where these powers lie with their respective mayors and the City of London where they sit with the local police authority.

There will also not be a PCC election in West Yorkshire, where a newly elected metro mayor will take on policing responsibilities after May 6.

You can find out more about what a PCC is and what they do here.

Who will win?

After the local elections in 2021 in England, both the Conservatives and the Labour Party suffered significant losses, however, the former fared worse.

The Tories lost more than 1,300 seats across 44 councils, while Labour lost 84 seats across six councils.

The Liberal Democrats and Green Party made significant gains, adding 706 and 194 seats respectively.

Independent candidates also performed well in 2019, gaining 604 seats overall.

According to bookmaker the Betfair exchange, the odds for each party to have the highest percentage vote share in the UK Local Elections are as follows:

  • Conservatives: 1/14 odds
  • Labour: 7/1 odds
  • Lib Dems: 100/1 odds.

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