Voters across the country including in the North East will head to the polls on May 4, electing councillors to represent their area for the next year.

In the North East, elections taking place this year includes Hartlepool, who have 13 seats out of 36 up for re-election.

In the lead up to polling day, The Northern Echo spoke to Deputy Leader of Hartlepool Labour and Councillor for Burn Valley, Jonathan Brash, about what Labour’s plans are for the upcoming local elections.

Read more: Hartlepool's Local Elections: Who's standing?

He said, “We are working extraordinarily hard every single day and we have over the past year, talking to residents about our positive vision of how we can change the council and targeting seats to win in this election.

“We’re hoping to increase our presence on the council, because ultimately we think the current Conservative and Independent coalition is not doing it’s job and I think the public are starting to see that very clearly.”

Labour currently holds eleven seats on Hartlepool Borough Council, that has been under no overall control since 2019.

Until election day, the council is led by Independent Shane Moore who announced in March he would be standing down as leader after the elections to “find a better work-life balance”.

Following this news, Hartlepool Labour are striving to win that majority on May 4.

Cllr Brash said: “We want a Labour controlled council because we believe we will make the right decisions in a way the current council hasn’t.”

Hartlepool Labour officially announced their manifesto yesterday (April 17), pledging to freeze council tax for 2024/2025 and cancelling the planned allotment fee rise to curb the cost-of-living crisis.

He said: “What we’ve seen in the last three or four years under the Conservative and Independent coalition is their decisions seem to make things harder for people.

“What a Labour council wants to do is try to make things easier, to make the lives of people living in Hartlepool just a little bit easier.”

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For Hartlepool Conservatives, who hold the majority thirteen seats on the council, their campaign has focused on what they say they have delivered for the town during their time in power.

In a Facebook post, Hartlepool Conservatives wrote: “In 2021/22 – Hartlepool Conservatives and Independents voted to freeze council tax, while Labour voted against the freeze, instead, Labour wanted to increase Council tax.

“Enough, is enough - Labour has taken Hartlepool for granted over the last 60 years. Let's not give up now.”

The Northern Echo reached out to both Mike Young, Leader of Hartlepool Conservatives as well as Shane Moore, Leader of the Council to discuss local elections but did not receive any responses.