Government refuses Slough council request to postpone election

James Bagley, local democracy reporter

Government refuses Slough council request to postpone election

Residents will have their say at this year’s election after government refused Slough Borough Council’s request to postpone it.

Last week, councillors unanimously voted in favour of swapping the current election cycle to ‘all-out’ every four years from 2023. This included requesting government to postpone this year’s election.

Currently, a third of councillors are elected each year, with members serving four-year terms. This costs the council £187,000 whereas the price for an all-out election would cost £210,000 every four years.

The ruling Labour group approved to request government for this year’s election to be cancelled and have the ‘all-out’ election with internal ward boundary changes next year.

They called the 2022 election 'redundant' and won’t change who runs the council.

The opposition accused Labour of 'running away' from the electorate after the council’s major financial troubles emerged just after last year’s election. Labour has denied this, saying residents would have their say a year later.

At a full council meeting last night (Thursday), the mayor, councillor Mohammed Nazir (Lab, Baylis & Stoke) announced Levelling Up Minister Kemi Badenoch’s response to the council’s request.

Reading out the Ministers letter, he said: “The Slough electorates will be anticipating May 2022 as an opportunity to hold their representatives accountable at the ballot box and I consider it would not be appropriate for the government to impede that.

“Consequently, I am not able to support your request to postpone the May 2022 elections in Slough. These should go ahead as planned.”

The leader of the Conservatives, Cllr Dexter Smith (Colnbrook with Poyle) said 'Hooray for democracy,' but was told to 'shut up' by Cllr Rob Anderson (Lab: Britwell & Northborough), lead member for financial oversight.

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