Sheffield Local Elections 2022: Why Polling Day could hold some surprises

Predicting elections is a difficult game and even the professional pollsters can get it wrong.

Tuesday, 19th April 2022, 3:21 pm

But one thing is for sure, Sheffield Council’s local elections look set to be lively once again after some shock results last year.

There were two big stories of 2021 – Labour Council Leader Bob Johnson losing his Hillsborough seat to the Greens, and the pact between Labour and the Greens to create a new coalition.

While the Greens haven’t had absolute control, their members on the Executive have overseen issues such as transport, leisure, jobs and skills. Will it have been enough to show voters they can make a difference?

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Labour started the coalition with a new Leader, Terry Fox. As with the Greens, has the new Council Leader done enough, and quickly enough, to impress voters?

The Liberal Democrats snatched three seats last year, but two had incredibly slim majorities.

They took East Ecclesfield from Labour by just 20 votes and won Beighton by 42 votes. But they only held their own ward of Beauchief and Greenhill by 37 votes so they can’t rest on their laurels.

Meanwhile the Tories, for many years non-existent in the city, are getting a firm footing in Stocksbridge. The patch has a Conservative MP and Sheffield’s sole Tory councillor took the seat with a comfortable majority of 497.

The Tories came second in seven wards last year, including traditional Labour strongholds such as Shiregreen and Brightside, Park and Arbourthorne plus Firth Park.

This year will see a new governance system at the Town Hall. Voters decided last May they wanted to scrap the Cabinet system and replace it with committees, but it’s taken a year to plan and implement. These coming months will be the real test of how well it works.

And running alongside the council elections is the Mayoral race. On polling day, voters in Sheffield will have two ballot papers – one for the local elections and one to choose a new South Yorkshire Mayor.

So 2022 could see great change in local politics but there are tough times ahead. The cost of living crisis, rocketing energy bills, the Ukraine war and post-pandemic recovery will all begin to affect Sheffield residents, during a time when councils are grappling with ever decreasing budgets and more demand for services.