The government has announced that May’s local and mayoral elections in England will be postponed for a year due to the coronavirus outbreak.
It comes after the Electoral Commission said the polls should be delayed until the autumn to “mitigate” the impact of the virus.
Local elections were due to take place for around 118 English councils, the London Assembly, the Mayor of London and seven English regional mayors.
As reported by 24housing, the impact of the virus has widely affected the sector, with the DWP, the Regulator of Social Housing and the Scottish Housing Regulator all releasing separate advice.
The National Homebuilding & Renovating Show, one of the biggest events in the sector, has also announced that it is postponing the event, due to take place later this month, to July.
On the news, Jonathan Carr-West, Chief Executive, LGiU, said: “We welcome the Government’s announcement today to postpone the local elections due to take place in May.
“While we regret this scenario, it’s clearly the right decision.
“The LGiU along with many across the sector have called for this measure due to fears about capacity to deliver in the midst of a public health crisis.
“Of course this does raise difficult questions and it’s important that the government moves quickly to answer these: what will happen where councilors were due to stand down?
“What will happen in new authorities that were due to be elected for the first time (like the new councils in Northamptonshire)? What about vacant seats and by-elections?”
He added that elections are a “vital part of democracy, but they are not the whole of it”.
“We need elections, but they have to run flawlessly and electoral services in councils across this country have a fantastic record of making that happen”, Carr-West said.
“If we can’t guarantee that elections can be delivered securely, safely and accurately. It’s better to postpone and decisive action was needed earlier rather than later”, he added.