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LOCAL ELECTIONS: STEADY DECLINE REVERSED BY ENCOURAGING INCREASE IN TURNOUT

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An encouraging improvement of four per cent in turnout for the 2002 local elections has reversed the steady decline...
An encouraging improvement of four per cent in turnout for the 2002 local elections has reversed the steady decline of recent years.

The LGA today welcomed the trend and cited local circumstances, in some areas, playing a vital role in helping to revitalise people's interest in local democracy.

The organisation stressed the importance of local engagement in the political process and believes that greater autonomy and financial freedom for local government will be needed if the turn-around is to be maintained and increased.

LGA chair Jeremy Beecham said:

'These results demonstrate just what can be achieved when all the parties effectively engage people in the political process. Several councils are experimenting with new methods of voting and in the case of postal voting we're seeing increases of up to 28 per cent. However, in addition to the introduction of new voting methods, we would like to see both central and local government working more closely in partnership to strengthen local government's autonomy. Only then we will convince the electorate that they have a real stake in local democracy.'

The LGA is campaigning for increased autonomy for local councils both financially and strategically in order to ensure that local services can be developed and delivered to better meet local need.

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