- Posted by: Mike Hedges MS
- Categories: Latest News, Press Releases
Labour’s Swansea AMs have today welcomed a new report from the Expert Group on Local Government Diversity. The report states that everybody involved in democracy in Wales should work together to help improve the numbers of young people, women, people from ethnic minorities, LGBT people and people with disabilities standing for election to Local Government.
The report of the Expert Group on Diversity in Local Government makes several recommendations for the Welsh Government, Local Authorities, the Welsh Local Government Association, political parties and councillors themselves. These include:
• Agreeing a target with political parties of 40% female candidates in winnable seats at the next elections ;
• Creating a mentoring scheme where existing members help potential future members to develop the necessary skills and knowledge; and
• Delivering a publicity and education campaign to inform the public about local government and to ensure the idea of becoming active in local government is carried into the community.
Labour’s AM for Swansea West Julie James said:
“While I welcome the reports recommendations it is disappointing that it has identified that only 28% of elected representatives across Wales were female and only 2% of elected Councillors identified themselves as lesbian, gay or bisexual, in comparison to 5 per cent of unelected candidates. Clearly there is still some way to go to right this wrong.”
Swansea East AM Mike Hedges added:
“The Wales wide figures are disappointing and we need to take action. However, representation on Swansea Council seems to moving in the right direction. It has a gender mix of 43 Men and 29 Women with at least two of the men openly gay. The Labour Group is even more gender balanced with 21 Women and 28 men out of 49 councillors whilst the Labour Councillors in my own constituency are 11 men and 10 women. On age there has been a remarkable shift with at least 4 still in their early 20s including Mitch Theaker who I believe is the youngest cabinet member in Wales.”
Launching the report, Professor Laura McAllister said:
“I hope our report, and its recommendations, will serve as a springboard to bring about significant change in the types of people putting themselves forward for election at the next local elections, both at county and community level. We also need to ensure different candidates are elected because diverse councillors will revitalise our local councils and drive their future direction as a vital tier of governance for our small nation.”