Liberal Democrats in Gateshead are to press the Council to back a cut in the number of councillors in the borough. The party is also calling for the local election cycle to be changed to save money and make the council more efficient.
There are currently 66 councillors in Gateshead, with three representing each of the 22 wards. One councillor is elected each year to serve for four years. Every fourth year there are no local elections.
Low Fell Councillor and Deputy Leader of the Opposition in Gateshead, Ron Beadle, said, “Gateshead Council has 2000 fewer people working for it since 2010. As an authority, it does far less than it used to.
“The total of 66 councillors can no longer be justified. Liberal Democrats are therefore pressing for each ward to have two rather than three councillors.
“The cost of each set of local elections is around £200,000. Annual elections by thirds don’t make sense when most councils in Britain hold their electoral contests only once every four years when all councillors are up for election.
“The functions of Gateshead Council have been reduced in recent years. The number of politicians needs to be reduced as well to reflect this.
“The savings from reduced councillor numbers and by switching from annual elections will save over £1 million over 4 years. This is money that can be spent on local services, rather than local councillors.”
Liberal Democrat Councillors will be moving a motion at the meeting of Gateshead Council on Thursday 4th February calling on the Chief Executive to investigate how the council can be reduced in size and elections switched to a four year cycle.