Please see below press release

 

Local authority elections provide an opportunity to make your voice heard

 

Infrastructure Minister Phil Gawne MHK is encouraging people to make their voices heard and help shape the future of their local communities.

 

The Minister says that next year’s local authority elections will provide the people of the Isle of Man with an opportunity to influence how their towns, villages, ports and parishes are run.

 

He is calling for people to make a positive contribution by voting or standing as a candidate in the elections, which will be held on Thursday 28 April 2016.

 

Minister Gawne is currently spearheading efforts to modernise the relationship between central and local government. He says he is hopeful that the progress achieved over the past 12 months will stimulate greater public engagement in local politics.

 

He commented: ‘Local people know their communities better than anyone and I would urge everyone to get involved in the issues that directly affect their daily lives. The local authority elections in April next year are a perfect opportunity for people to make their feelings known. Let’s seize this chance to achieve real change and to put an end to uncontested elections and poor voter turnouts.’

 

Local authorities have taken on additional responsibilities this year following the transfer of a range of highway maintenance functions from central to local government. The Department of Infrastructure and local authorities are also exploring new approaches for waste management and public housing.

 

Minister Gawne said: ‘I am passionate about the basic principle of providing local services at a local level. I see this approach as a way to encourage people to take an active interest in their communities and also to bridge the current disconnect between people and politics.’

 

Chris Thomas MHK, Infrastructure Department Member whose responsibilities include local authorities, added: ‘Local authority turnover of £60million is already greater than that of most Government Departments. Moreover, relationships between the local authorities are evolving as the scope and structure of local and national government change, and it has been exciting to be involved in the regional housing working groups and governance initiatives. Those elected to local authorities next spring are likely to have even more responsibility than current commissioners.’

 

People are reminded that they must be on the electoral register at 1 April 2016 to be eligible to vote or to stand as a candidate in local authority elections. The register is revised every three months, with updates effective from 1 January, 1 April, 1 July and 1 October. The cut-off point for inclusion is two weeks before the effective date, so people will need to be registered by 18 March in order to participate in the local authority elections.

 

Further information is available from the Electoral Registration Unit, Crown and Elections, Cabinet Office, Government Office, Bucks Road, Douglas, IM1 3PN, email voters@gov.im or call 685754.