Local councillors – could you pick them out of a line-up?

New research shows that only 13 per cent of voters think their local council adresses community needs, with most people unable to even recognise them.

Only a quarter of people believe that their local council “addresses the needs of their community” and as little as 13 per cent of voters feel that they have the power to influence decisions that impact their neighbourhood, new research has shown.

The ‘Connecting Communties’ report, conducted ahead of the local elections on May 5th, also shows that more than two thirds of voters can’t identify any of their local councilors.

The online survey of 2,226 adults was conducted by YouGov on behalf of the local social networking site streetlife.com.

Matt Boyes, Founder & CEO of streetlife.com, told Left Foot Forward: 

“Our research shows that there is a real disconnection between local communities and the council officials they vote for to represent them.

“Local residents feel that that they are not being listened to and they lack the power to influence what happens in their neighbourhood and community.”

The age breakdown provides gives further support to the OECD data that revealed the gap in voting rates between 16-35 year olds and those aged 55 or over is three times wider in Britain than the OECD average gap as Left Foot Forward previously reported.

The new research shows that whereas an average of 17.5% of of 18-34 year olds said they could name a local councilor, 48% of over 55 year olds said they could.

Another dramatic difference between young and old was highlighted by responses to the proposition: I believe I have the power to really influence decisions that impact my immediate neighbourhood and community. Responses were fairly similar apart from the answer “don’t know”, which tallied with 21% of 18-24 year olds as opposed to only 4% of over-55s.

The response demonstrates a lack of interest and possibly a lack of a desire to engage in local politics in the young compared to older age groups:

Regional breakdown of voters who feel that their local council addresses the needs of their communities:

1. North East 31%
2. West Midlands 28%
3. Wales 27%
4. South East 27%
5. Yorkshire and the Humber 26%
6. Scotland 26%
7. Northern Ireland 26%
8. London 26%
9. East Midlands 24%
10. East of England 21%
11. South West 21%
12. North West 20%

Voters who can’t name one of their local political representatives:

1. East Midlands (79%)
2. East of England (76%)
3. West Midlands (75%)
4. London (73%)
5. South West (67%)
6. South East (66%)
7. Yorkshire and the Humber (61%)
8. North West (61%)
9. North East (57%)
10. Wales  (56%)
11. Northern Ireland (54%)
12. Scotland (53%)
Like this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by becoming a Left Foot Forward Supporter today.