BBC Peterborough Local Election Analysis

07:58 Monday 18th April 2011
Peterborough Breakfast Show
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

PAUL STAINTON: The city’s going to be going to the polls of course on Thursday May 5th. This year’s local elections the first big test for the Coalition. And as if one election wasn’t enough, you’ll also be able to vote on a change to the way we vote of course. But what about Peterborough City Council elections? Our political reporter Steve Titman looks ahead. (MUSIC – The Marcels- Blue Moon)
STEVE TITMAN: After confirming they’re True Blues by buying the Posh ground, the ruling Tory Party will be looking for another year of election success. But could David Cameron’s austerity measures dent their sizeable majority? A third of seats are up for election this year, across 19 wards, which means most of you will get a vote on May 5th. For anything to change at the City Council, the Conservatives would need to lose 12 of the 15 seats that they have up this time round. With no gains, that would mean they’d lose their majority, and their overall control. Steve (ed: Key) seats to watch out for are Stanground Central, where Council Leader Marco Cereste is campaigning for another term, but has a slim majority of just over 100 votes in the city’s biggest ward. Graham Murphy will see if Orton Longueville voters backed his defection to the English Democrats, or punish his decision. There’s also talk of a fight for Mayor Elect Conservative Paula Thacker in Werrington South. She takes on well-known resident and LibDem David Hedges, and the oldest candidate in the city, former Mayor Bob Burke, who stands as an Independent. Key issues will of course focus around the cuts to adult social care, charities and school transport. Opposition parties are likely to criticise the total bill for councillors, which has gone up under the Tories. However, the Conservatives can still feel pretty confident.



PAUL STAINTON: In just under three weeks, and I bet you can’t wait for this, voting in this year’s local elections takes place, as well as the alternative vote referendum. Ooh with the biggie. All of the country’s .. oh sorry .. all of the county’s district councils will be holding an election, and our political reporter Steve Titman has been looking at how your vote can shape the services you receive. (MUSIC – Lonnie Donegan – My Old Man’s a Dustman).
STEVE TITMAN: In local elections, it could be argued that you may not be too sure what you’re voting for. You know that David and Nick will set your taxes, pass your laws, and decide what we’re going to do abroad. But do you know what your council does, and which one? Well in Cambridgeshire, there’s the County Council, and then five District Councils, Fenland, East Cambridgeshire, South Cambridgeshire, Huntingdonshire and Cambridge City Council. The County Council is in charge of services for young people, adult social care. They’re also in charge of roads and subsidised public transport. But they’re not up for election this year. There are elections in all five districts in Cambridgeshire. Some have a third of councillors fighting for their seats, while in Fenland and East Cambridgeshire, all council seats are up for election. So what could your vote change on May 5th? They collect your bins. They decide whether planning permission is going to be granted. They collect your council tax, but they don’t get to keep all of that. They manage your parks and open spaces, as well as footpaths, pest control, markets, leisure centres, car parking. And then, just to be difficult, there’s Peterborough City Council who are a unitary authority, which means they do everything that the district council and the county council does, but just for Peterborough. So all the things you use on a daily basis is probably linked to your local council, and that council is shaped by your vote on 5th May.
PAUL STAINTON: Ah we can’t wait can we? Ah. The local elections. The alternative vote referendum. And the alternative vote referendum speeches will continue today, as Vince Cable and Ed Milliband and David Cameron and others pontificate and shout at us.