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Carlisle City Councillor proposes to strike for all out action to save £43,000 on the cost of elections

Cllr James Bainbridge

[A]t the Carlisle City Council meeting on Tuesday the 12th of September, Carlisle City Councillor James Bainbridge (Conservative, Stanwix Rural Ward) will propose that the City Council moves from holding Carlisle City Council Elections every three out of four years (‘elections by thirds’), to holding one Carlisle City Council every four years (an ‘all out election’) starting in 2019.

The proposal requests that Carlisle City Council undertake a formal consultation with residents and interested parties in the area and then formally vote at a later meeting to move to an all-out election. This would therefore comply with the national legislation Councils must follow to undertake this change.

District Councils can either elect members by thirds, half or by all out elections.  Over recent years a number of Councils big and small across England (Wales and Scotland already elect by the all-out method) have moved to all out elections as a way to save money, time, increase local election turnout and provide a Council which is better focused on delivering.  The last Council in Cumbria to make such a change was Barrow in 2011, however Councils such as Bassetlaw and South Cambridgeshire have recently changed as have big urban Councils such as Birmingham and Derby. In the Cumbria only Carlisle elects by thirds.

In 2019 Carlisle City Council will have to hold ‘all out’ elections (with every Councillor up for election) anyway as the boundaries of the Council wards look set to be redrawn as a result of the Local Government Boundary Review currently being undertaken by the LGBCE.  If agreed, this change would then mean that instead of having local elections in 2020 and 2022 the next City Council elections after 2019 would be in 2023.  This would save at least an estimated £43,000 by not having to undertake tasks such as hiring halls, posting out postal votes and hiring election staff to man polling stations and carry out the count.

Speaking on the proposal Councillor Bainbridge said: “For a number of years I and my Conservative colleagues have looked at other Councils make savings by doing this and have wondered why not Carlisle. It has previously been called by the Cumberland News ‘cut without a victim’, and it’s true.

“We want to start off this process by voting on Tuesday to formally put the idea out for discussion with Carlisle as a whole.  We think residents and business would welcome having a Council that could be elected for a four year term, and not have repeated local elections which disrupt Council business.  The Council could plan for a four term rather than just for 12months at a time.  It’s an idea that seems to have very little against it, to be frank we should have done it years ago.”

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