Telford and Wrekin: Council election profile

Telford sign
Image caption Until 2007, Labour had always dominated elections in Telford and Wrekin

The results of council elections in Telford and Wrekin could be among the most interesting in the country.

Until the last election Telford and Wrekin Council had been dominated by the Labour Party, ever since the creation of the new town.

The party was finally nudged to one side in 2007 by the Conservatives, who founded a minority administration.

With all 54 seats up for election on Thursday, it would not take much to tip the political balance.

In the last council, the Conservatives took 27 seats, Labour had 16, the Liberal Democrats three, Telford and Wrekin People's Association (TAWPA) had four, three were Independents, and there was one vacant seat.

Often voters use local elections to show their disapproval of national politics.

If that is true this time, the Conservative group could be in trouble, as people start to feel the impact of Conservative-led government cuts and services being scaled back across the country.

'Biggest investment'

Andrew Eade, leader of the Tory group, has been keen to remind voters what his party has done over the past four years.

"What we've done as an administration since we took over in 2007 is act as a catalyst to put together half a billion pounds worth of investment, that's the biggest we've seen in Telford certainly for 40 years," Mr Eade said.

Labour group leader Keith Austin said his party had started work on regenerating borough towns before 2007.

He also said Labour opposed plans to build civic offices in the Southwater development.

Mr Austin added that Labour would not build council offices on a prime site and would review the council's budget.

Bill Tomlinson, leader of the Liberal Democrat group, said his party was concerned about council spending.

'Power to the people'

"Regeneration is important for Telford. We want to put it on a firm basis, but regeneration as expended by the council has to be done very carefully.

"The schools that are being replaced are being paid for by central government.

"But all the other regeneration by the council is being borrowed by the council," he added.

TAWPA's Adrian Williams said: "There's nothing to do in Telford. A new night-time economy, places to go, we're desperately short of them - let's get them built if the money's there.

"Let's get people to work because without work there's no money."

The leader of UKIP, Dennis Allen, said: "We intend to give as much power back to the people as possible.

"Telford and Wrekin at the moment is run by the executives for the executives.

"The people don't get much of a look-in, hence we're getting a brand new office block for the officers, but we're cutting back on bus services and so on."

In total the Labour party is fielding 53 candidates in all 33 wards, the Conservatives are putting up 52 candidates.

TAWPA has nine candidates, the Liberal Democrats have eight and UKIP has six. There are also 11 Independents standing and one candidate from the British National Party.

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