Learning Center
Plans & pricing Sign in
Sign Out
Your Federal Quarterly Tax Payments are due April 15th Get Help Now >>



  • pg 1
									                        BUSINESS WEST BRIEFING 2011
                     LOCAL ELECTIONS 2011 & REFERENDUM

May is election time again, with local elections taking place across the country and a UK-wide
referendum (the first since 1975) on changing the Westminster Parliament voting system.

This briefing covers the following four issues:

      Business West manifesto for change to encourage local councils to put business growth
       at the forefront of their policies and plans.
      Background on voting intentions
      The Alternative Vote referendum
      Local elections taking place in Bristol, West of England, Gloucestershire and Swindon


Business West has developed a manifesto for change - a direct call to action for all our local
councils with elections this May.

Local elections are important to business in many ways – the policies and practices of local
councils have a significant impact on the ability of business to deliver and grow. Business West,
as the Chamber of Commerce in Bristol, Bath and Gloucestershire, and the business
leadership team operating across Swindon, Wiltshire and the West of England, is keen to lobby
and challenge on behalf of business on issues that matter to business.

Businesses have consistently told us what the key barriers to their growth are – access to
finance, excessive regulations, skills shortages, infrastructure deficit, insufficient land/premises
for housing and jobs.

We therefore challenge local councils across Bristol, Bath, West of England, Gloucestershire
and Swindon to consider a manifesto for business growth which focuses on the following key

1. Working with Business
   Business and local authorities working together can               Workplace parking levy –
   achieve so much more. We ask our local councils to
                                                                     proposals by Bristol City
   consult and work with business on all economic
   development and growth agendas. It is important that                     Council.
   local councils understand the implications of their
   actions and policies for business growth and avoid              BW encourages the council to
   introducing change that will have a negative effect.           consult and work with business
   Working together we can identify solutions to the key
   challenges business and communities face.                         to ensure the proposal is
                                                                      acceptable to business

Tessa Coombes                                                                                    1
April 2011
                                       2.     Infrastructure, Planning & Development
                                       Working with business to promote the area and attract
 Business West has worked with         inward investment is critical to increasing private sector
                                       jobs growth. To do this effectively councils need to fully
 local councils for many years to      understand what attracts business and what will
    promote and support new            encourage them to stay.
   transport schemes - we will
                                       Transport and infrastructure improvements are critical to
 maintain that support but more        growth as is the provision of sufficient land and buildings
         action is needed.             for housing and jobs. Business West will continue to
                                       lobby and challenge councils to ensure long term plans
                                       are developed to deliver on this agenda.

3. Local Enterprise Partnerships
   Business needs to be at the heart of LEPs providing           At Business West we are fully
   clear direction on business needs and potential for            committed to working with
   growth. Local councils can help this process by               local councils to ensure LEPs
   ensuring their approach to these partnerships is
   inclusive and supports proper business                        across our area have effective
   representation, rather than merely consulting. Equally,         business engagement and
   business needs to be prepared to engage and bring                involvement, and bring
   ideas and resources to the table. Business West will
   continue to support businesses in this process.                   resources to the table


The latest opinion polls illustrate the change in fortunes of the main political parties, with the
Liberal Democrats in particular seeing a substantial drop in popularity from 23% at the General
Election last year to only 10% currently:

       Conservative                   36%
       Labour                         42%
       Liberal Democrat               10%
       Other                          12%


The Coalition Agreement, issued on 12th May 2010, set out the Government’s intention to hold
a referendum on changing the way we elect MPs to Parliament. The referendum will ask voters
if they would like to replace the current first-past-the-post system for electing MPs with a
method know as the Alternative Vote system. The results of the referendum will be announced
on a region-by-region basis on Friday 6th May.

Tessa Coombes                                                                                  2
April 2011
The official yes and no campaigns have been up and running for some time, with momentum
building as we get closer to referendum day – for further information see http://www.no2av.org/
and http://www.yestofairervotes.org/

The question the referendum will ask is as follows:
  At present, the UK uses the 'first past the post' system to elect MPs to the House of
      Commons. Should the 'alternative vote' system be used instead'? Yes or no?

Below is a simple guide to our existing systems and the proposed new system.

   System              How it works                  Advantages               Disadvantages            Result
First past      This is what we have now        Easy to understand        not a very                Minority
the post        in general and local            and voter can express     representative system     parties tend
                                                                                         nd rd th
(FPtP)          elections in the UK. You        view on which party       votes for the 2 /3 /4     to lose out
                have one vote and the           should win election.      candidate don’t count
                candidate with the most                                   for anything
                votes wins.

Alternative     Used in Australia and NZ.       Ensures elected MPs       Voters rank candidates    Minority
Vote –          Candidates are ranked in        have 50% of the vote      without knowing           parties lose
proposed        order of preference. If no      Prevents extremists       enough about them         out
system for      one receives 50% of the         succeeding
referendum      vote, the one with least
                votes is eliminated and
                votes reallocated
                according to 2 choice
                until someone has 50%
Additional      Used in Welsh Assembly          Broadly proportional      Some MPs are not          Minority
Member          and Scottish Parliament         representation and        directly accountable to   parties win
Systems         elections. Puts together        there is a directly       voters as they have no
                the best of 2 systems.          accountable MP for        constituency
                Each voter has two votes,       each constituency         Creates 2 types of
                one vote for a single MP        Each voter has at least   MPs
                via FPtP, and one for a         one effective vote
                regional or national party
                list. Half the seats or
                more are allocated to the
                constituencies and the
                rest to the party list. The
                % of votes obtained by
                the parties in the party list
                vote determines their
                overall number of
                representatives; the party
                lists are used to top up
                the FPtP seats gained by
                the party to the required
Single          Used in Northern Ireland.       Gives voters more         Breaks the link           Candidates
Transferable    Preferential voting in multi    choice than any other     between an individual     win
Vote            member constituency.            system                    MP and their
                Voters rank candidates          Parliament would          constituency
                and those with least votes      directly reflect voting   Ballot papers could be
                are elimiated and votes         preferences               complex
                redistributed.                  Relatively simple

Tessa Coombes                                                                                            3
April 2011

Local elections will be held in 279 local authorities across England this May - 30 unitary
authorities including Bath & North East Somerset (B&NES), North Somerset and South
Gloucestershire, and 124 district authorities, including Cotswold, Forest of Dean and
Tewkesbury will be electing all their members for the first time since 2007.

A third of seats are also being contested in 36 metropolitan boroughs,19 unitary authorities and
70 district councils including Bristol, Swindon, Gloucester and Stroud.

There are no elections in Wiltshire or Cheltenham this year.


Elections across the West of England will affect all 4 councils, with full elections in 3 of them
and a third of seats in Bristol. The political make up of these councils is identified below:

Bristol City Council – 70 councillors, Lib Dem controlled
Liberal Democrat              38
Labour                        17
Conservative                  14
Green                          1

South Gloucestershire – 70 councillors, Minority Conservative control
Conservative                33
Liberal Democrat            28
Labour                      9

North Somerset – 61 councilors, Conservative controlled
Conservative                46
Independent                 6
Liberal Democrat            5
Labour                      3
Green                       1

Bath and North East Somerset – 65 councillors, Minority Conservative control
Conservative               32
Liberal Democrat           26
Labour                     5
Independent                2


Across Gloucestershire, all district/unitary councils have elections with the exception of
Cheltenham. Gloucester and Stroud have a third of seats up for election, whilst the others face
full council elections. There are no elections to the County Council.

Cotswold Council – 44 councillors, Conservative controlled
Conservative                36
Lib Dem                      5
Independent                  2

Tessa Coombes                                                                                       4
April 2011
Forest of Dean Council – 48 councillors, Conservative controlled
Conservative                 23
Independent                  10
Labour                        8
Lib Dem                       3
Non Political Alliance        3
No political group            1

Gloucester City Council – 36 councillors, Conservative controlled
Conservative                 17
Lib Dem                      11
Labour                        8

Stroud Council – 49 councillors, Conservative controlled
Conservative                 27
Labour                        7
Liberal Democrat              7
Green                         5
Independent                   3

Tewkesbury Council – 38 councillors, Conservative Leader, Lib Dem Deputy
Conservative               19
Liberal Democrat           15
Tewkesbury Ind              2
Independent                 1
Non Aligned                 1


In Swindon, a third of the seats are up for election.

Swindon Council – 59 councillors, Conservative controlled
Conservative 40
Labour 15
Lib Dem 4
Independent 1

Tessa Coombes                                                              5
April 2011

To top