04:13PM, Friday 14 January 2022
The next local elections at Slough Borough Council could see every seat up for grabs as part of plans to deliver more political stability in the borough.
The current system sees elections held yearly with a third of seats on the council contested each time.
But, the council has been urged to change to ‘all-out’ elections every four years to help deliver political stability and avoid election distraction every 12 months.
A switch to four-year election cycles could also help cut costs.
The local authority has been exploring the idea over the past year and a consultation held with residents revealed more than 60 per cent were in favour of ‘all-out’ elections.
Council leader James Swindlehurst said the move could bring Slough in line with other Berkshire councils and followed the recommendations of an external governance review carried out by Jim Taylor.
He added: “Election always carry risk, but Slough Labour has a record of improvement – from hundreds of new council homes to school improvements and expansions and the regeneration of our worst neighbourhoods to our brand new leisure facilities.
“It’s achievements like these which have allowed residents to place their faith in us for almost two decades.”
If the electoral change goes ahead, every council seat would be up for grabs at an election in May 2023.
This could see the council requesting that next year’s planned election for a third of seats are postponed.
Matthew Taylor, leader of the Slough Liberal Democrats, said: “Slough Lib Dems feel that many residents would welcome the opportunity to be able to vote out the current Labour administration, whose financial mismanagement has led to the current situation of ever-rising debts and cuts to services.
“Postponing the elections by a year allows Labour to escape what promises to be a bad election for them, with memories of their financial incompetence still fresh.”
Slough Conservatives leader Dexter Smith added: “Given the scale of the problems and the chaos that the council has been thrown into by this Labour administration this is what we need.”
But he argued against the postponement of the election planned for May this year.
He said the people of Slough should have the opportunity to have their say on upcoming council tax rises and the local authority’s financial crisis.
“The council is in a dreadful state and we need to be focusing on sorting that out but at the same time, we should be accountable to the people of Slough,” Cllr Smith added.