As I write this, it looks as if we may have finally entered into Spring, with some sunshine and slightly warmer weather, I hope we can look forward to brighter days ahead after what has been a really difficult winter.
This week has seen some really important deadlines in regard to the upcoming local elections including the deadline to register to vote and the deadline to apply for a postal vote. While both these deadlines have now passed, the deadline to apply for a free voter ID is on 25th April at 5pm.
What is this? For the first time ever, voters will have to show photo ID when voting next month in the local elections on 4th May. I remain totally unconvinced by the government’s reasoning for implementing these measures as there were only four people convicted of voter fraud in 2019 and the measures are costing the tax-payer millions of pounds to introduce. ‘Four’ is a ridiculously low number and even more so when you consider that in the general election alone that year, approximately 32 million people voted.
Despite this, it is something that the government are pressing on with so please do remember and remind friends, family and colleagues to check they have an eligible form of ID and if not, register for a free voter ID by 25th April at 5pm. You need to make your voice heard.
It is a concern that many people won’t have photo ID with them when they go to vote on 4th May which will lead to them being unable to vote. It is important we know what these figures are so we can see the impact of these new measures. The leader of the Labour group, Cllr Mini Mangat, has called for the council to record and publish these figures. I very much hope that they will be recorded and released following polling day.
Please do ensure that you, your friends, family, community etc are able to vote in these elections. Local elections are just as important as general elections. A good local representative can make a huge difference to local communities.
Earlier this week, I was concerned to see that Warwickshire County Council featured on a list of the councils that are recorded as taking the longest to fill potholes. We’ve all seen the uneven surfaces of our roads and the impact this can have on drivers and their vehicles, so it is disappointing to see that in Warwickshire we had 2,560 recorded potholes in 2021/22 with the longest wait to fix one being 304 days. They can damage vehicles and be dangerous to driver and cyclists.
The significant cut to the highway maintenance budget in 2021 of £400 million has clearly had a real impact on our roads. It’s not acceptable that drivers have to bear the brunt of the awful state of our road and often pay the price for serious damage done to their vehicles. To learn that we’ve experienced one of the top 10 wait times for a pothole repair is another blow to residents.
I’d encourage residents to report potholes to the council as they come across them, whether out driving, cycling or walking. I’ve been raising this issue since I was first elected and it’s still a huge problem locally so I will keep pushing, both locally and nationally.
As always, please do get in touch if you have any issues or concerns, you’d like to raise with me. I can be reached at [email protected] or on 01926 882006.
Matt Western, MP for Warwick and Leamington