CORRECTION: This piece was updated on 27 April at 11:00. It originally stated the date for the local elections was 3 May and has now been corrected to 2 May.
Councillor demographics are worse than we expected. Local elections are happening on 2 May, but the people running are unrepresentative of the public.
In England, 57% of councillors are over 60 years old:
What’s more, ‘under 40’ has its own councillor category and still only makes up 10%. This is a problem because it means local government does not represent the people.
The picture doesn’t improve when you account for ethnicity. 95.8% of councillors are white and this figure has remained nearly stagnant for 15 years – with less than a 1% decrease since 2004. By comparison, the overall population is 86.5% white.
There has been greater movement towards a representative number of female candidates. But at 36%, the proportion is still way off representing the public. The 2018 figure is an increase from 29% in 2004.
The Fawcett Society’s Andrew Bazeley said:
The pace of change is still far too slow when it comes to getting more women on to councils across the country – and more diverse representation in terms of ethnicity, age, and disability too.
And, speaking about the general lack of representation, a local government association (LGA) spokesperson said:
It is vital that the make-up of councils reflects their communities and their experience. The LGA has been constantly working with councils towards increasing diversity and inclusion.
Council elections are about to happen across England in 248 areas. There are also six mayoral positions on offer. But democracy is supposed to be representative. So we need to ensure that politicians demographically represent the people. Because right now we’re way off.
Featured image via secretLondon123/ WikiCommons
- Find out about your local election candidates here.
We need your help ...
The coronavirus pandemic is changing our world, fast. And we will do all we can to keep bringing you news and analysis throughout. But we are worried about maintaining enough income to pay our staff and minimal overheads.
Now, more than ever, we need a vibrant, independent media that holds the government to account and calls it out when it puts vested economic interests above human lives. We need a media that shows solidarity with the people most affected by the crisis – and one that can help to build a world based on collaboration and compassion.
We have been fighting against an establishment that is trying to shut us down. And like most independent media, we don’t have the deep pockets of investors to call on to bail us out.
Can you help by chipping in a few pounds each month?