'Welwyn Hatfield election shake-up could save thousands'
PUBLISHED: 17:16 17 February 2017 | UPDATED: 17:37 17 February 2017
Welwyn Hatfield council chiefs are wilfully refusing to make a simple change to the election system that could make major financial savings and boost turnout, opposition critics have claimed.
At present, a third of borough council seats come up for election three years out of four, but the 2017/18 budget shows a £75,000 saving as there will be no election in the period.
Labour’s proposal at this month’s special council meeting that all 48 seats should be contested simultaneously every four years, which the party claims would save “hundreds of thousands of pounds”, was voted down by Conservatives and Lib Dems combined.
Labour Councillor Max Holloway said: “Making this change would save considerable amounts of money that could be used to support front-line services.
“Residents rightly complain that voting every year under the current system feels like it changes very little and this is shown by abysmal turnout figures.
“It is a shame that yet again this Conservative council cannot accept sensible ideas.”
Conservative council leader John Dean said: “We feel it is more democratic to give the electorate an opportunity every year to change the administration.
“If the electorate is dissatisfied, they get the chance to reduce the administration’s majority year-on-year.”