Not everybody knows the way local government works. David Drew, Conservative Candidate for Harewood Ward has produced this short guide to outline, for those who are not familiar, the overall responsibilities of individual councillors and councils, who are elected by you every 4 years.
The Test Valley Borough Council (TVBC) elections will take place on the 7th May this year when all seats are up for election. That is the same date as the General Election. If you are not on the electoral register you must do this by the 20th April and if you want a postal vote this must be done by the 21st April.
Test Valley has 48 serving councillors. At the election, the largest group who has a majority of councillors (25 or more) will be responsible for running the council and their duties are outlined below. County Council elections took place in 2013 and occur every 4 years.
Your Parish Councillors
Town/Parish Councillors represent you on your local Town/Parish Council. Parish Councils are responsible for some local services, including play areas, village halls and allotments. Parish Councillors have an important role in the planning process, ensuring that specific local circumstances are brought to the attention of Test Valley Borough Council; they are the eyes and ears of your local community. Parish budgets range from about £1 thousand right up to in excess of £130 thousand for Andover Town.
Your Borough Councillor
Your Borough Councillor is your representative on TVBC. This Council is responsible for local services, including planning and planning decisions, council housing, and rubbish collection. Collection of all council tax is the responsibility of TVBC. Councillors are not paid a salary, but do get a basic allowance of £6,000 in order for them to carry out the council business and to represent their electorate. Each Borough Councillor represents on average 1,500 to 2,000 electors.
TVBC has its main offices at Beech Hurst in Andover with additional offices in Romsey. The financial expenditure on Council activities is about £11 million with a further £35 million distributed on behalf of the Government by the Housing Department.
Your County Councillor
County Councillors represent you on Hampshire County Council (HCC). HCC is responsible for local services, including education, social services, transport, roads (except trunk roads and motorways), public rights of way, and libraries. Each County Councillor represents on average 11,000 electors and receives an allowance of £12,000 in order for them to carry out the Council business and to represent their electorate. HCC is based in Winchester and has many offices around Hampshire. The total budget for HCC is just under £2 billion.
Your Member of Parliament
Your MP represents you in the House of Commons in London. The Houses of Parliament are responsible for making laws in the UK and for overall scrutiny of all aspects of government. The laws that govern the way Local Government works are passed by central government. Councils can only do what Central Government has specifically legislated for them to do.
Written by David Drew, Conservative candidate for Harewood ward.