what time do the polls open tomorrow, how can I vote and when are UK results announced?

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The 2022 local elections on Thursday are an opportunity for voters across the country to make their opinions known on how they want their local issues to be managed.

However, this year, after the drama of the ‘partygate’ scandal, the invasion of Ukraine, and the spiraling cost-of-living crisis, voters will also be expressing their opinions on the overall performance of the man at the very top: Boris Johnson.

Local elections take place every year during the month of May with different seats, positions and bodies up for grabs.

In the 2021 local elections, the nation’s biggest parties competed for 5,000 seats in 145 English local councils, plus 20,000 seats on 2,000 parish and town councils, 13 mayoralties and 39 police and crime commissioners. Not to mention the coinciding elections for the Scottish Parliament, Senedd and London Assembly.

While these local elections may not attract the pageantry and fanfare of a general election, they are incredibly important events in the political cycle.

Local elections are, as you might have guessed, vital to the way your council deals with local issues such as planning permission, community transport and crime. Local elections also give a good indication of the general mood of the country towards the current government and the Prime Minister.

You can rest assured that Boris Johnson will anxiously await the results of the local elections to see how his party is performing at a grassroots level.

When are the local elections?

This year, the local elections will take place on Thursday the 5th of May 2022. Polling stations will open at 7am and close at 10pm.

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How many councils are taking part in this year’s local elections?

The big litmus test for Boris Johnson this year will be the London borough council elections. Every borough will be contested this year, and the Tories, Lib Dems and Labor will be looking to improve upon their performances in 2018.

There are 32 borough councils, 7 of which are currently held by the Tories, 3 by the Liberal Democrats, 1 under no overall control and the rest held by Labour.

In addition to the London elections, every local authority in Scotland and Wales will go to the vote and the elections will coincide with the 2022 Northern Ireland Assembly election. Plaid Cymru and the SNP will be looking to increase their grassroots representation in Wales and Scotland respectively.

Away from Scotland and Wales, there will be an array of confusing but important elections around England including mayoral elections, new councilors to the City of London Corporation, elections for unitary authorities, district councils and 1,100 parish and town councils.

If you love elections of all shapes and sizes, there will be a lot to sink your teeth into come May.

What are the different types of councils?

There are four different types of local council in the UK: parish/town councils, district councils, county councils, and unitary authorities.

Parish councils, or town councils as they are sometimes known, are the smallest kind of council. Many parish council elections are uncontested and party political affiliations are rare. Parish councils have the power to raise money through the council tax. They are also in charge of community spaces such as allotments, open spaces and play areas.

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District councils, county councils and unitary authorities are what’s known as ‘principal authorities’. They have more powers than parish councils and are contested by the nation’s biggest parties. District councils take care of matters such as bin collection and council housing. County councils cover areas such as schools, social services and transportation.

Unitary authorities are an amalgamation of smaller councils and are responsible for all aspects of local governance.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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