WEEKLY COLUMN by Stroud District Council leader Catherine Braun

2024 is set to be a big year for elections, in the UK and across the world.

On 2nd May, we start with local elections for district councillors, some parish and town councillors, and for the Gloucestershire Police and Crime Commissioner.

At the recent district council meeting, we discussed election matters, noting that voting rules changed last year, which require all voters (apart from postal voters) to bring photo ID, from an approved list, in order to cast their vote at a polling station: stroud.gov.uk/council-and-democracy/elections

The council also discussed and agreed on the need for a fairer and more consistent voting system for our local elections in England. Along with many other authorities, we would like to see a residency based voting system in England, to match the approach taken in Wales and Scotland.

This would mean that all legal residents, who live in the area and pay their council tax, could vote, regardless of their citizenship.

Across the UK, it’s estimated that over a million people are missing out on the right to vote in local elections. due to the lack of residency based voting rights.

There’s more information available from the Migrant Democracy Project.

The new year is a great time for new resolutions and plans. If this involves changing your diet, you may want to look at the free Veganuary cookbook (veganuary.com) or if you’re looking to try a Dry January or a healthier lifestyle, then look up the local support available at hlsglos.org

Across Gloucestershire and other parts of the country, many people have sadly experienced a very wet start to the year, due to flooding, which has affected homes and businesses, and caused widespread travel disruption.

If you’re at risk of flooding, it’s well worth signing up for flood warnings, and making a flood plan, just in case at stroud.gov.uk/environment/flooding-and-drainage