Nightlife, the cost-of-living crisis and disillusionment: the big issues for 2024’s local election voters

Greater Manchester will take to its numerous polling stations on Thursday as a series of local elections commence across the region.

Votes will be made to elect local councillors, as well as the mayors of Salford and the Greater Manchester Combined Authority in what is set to be a democratic bonanza.

Mancunian Matters took to the area’s streets to discover what the big issues are for its people and how this is likely to impact their vote.

“Things are not great”

Many of those MM spoke to revealed the biggest factor likeliest to influence their vote was the ongoing cost-of-living crisis.

Despite grocery price growth reportedly falling to a 30-month low of 3.2% earlier this month according to research company Kantar, stories of people struggling with bill payments and other essential payments remain widespread.

Dominic Surek, 23, who works as a chef in the City of Manchester and is originally from Poland, discussed his desire for those at council level to help those currently struggling with their finances.

He said: “At the moment, things are not great.

“Rent is always going up, groceries are expensive, (and) so is electric.

“The local government should be helping people who can’t afford it.

“When I came over here, I grew up in a council estate and it was quite manageable even though we were living on the poverty line.

“Now it is getting harder and harder.”

“I just want clubs to be thriving and surviving”

Luke Richards, 27, wants local government support for the area’s nightlife.

The aftershocks of the Covid-19 pandemic have been hard on vast swathes of the population – not least the entertainment industry and the night-time economy.

Nightlife experts warned in February that the nation was presently losing one nightclub every two days.

For Luke Richards, 27, the maintenance of this sector within Greater Manchester is an integral aspect of how he intends to vote.

The Ancoats-based DJ said: “Lots of clubs are going into administration at the moment, so I would like to see a lot more done to help them.

“I’d like to see more funding given to smaller clubs and a tax reduction provided for them.

“I just want clubs to be thriving and surviving.”

I don’t trust many politicians”

A problem typically impacting local elections is a lack of knowledge regarding what is truly at stake as the polls open.

Many are also tired of a system they do not feel is listening to them.

According to King’s College London’s The UK in World Values Survey, only 17% of British people were “highly satisfied” with their political system – as opposed to 32% who stood as dissatisfied.

Such disengagement was reflected by several MM interviewed on Manchester’s streets.

NHS worker Nagash Amjad, 26, of Bolton expressed a clear distrust with governance at all levels – to the extent she will not be voting later this week.

She said: “I don’t think there is enough information around the city telling us what is going on.

“There are no posters or information to show candidates or what we are voting for.

“I don’t trust many politicians, even local government.

“I don’t think there is enough being done to help us.”

Elections for local councillors in each borough as well as the mayors of Greater Manchester Combined Authority and Salford will be held on 2 May.

For everything you need to know ahead of the big day, read this explainer.

Featured image: Oliver Jervis

Related Articles