Local elections offering disabled candidates grant scheme

The government is offering £250,000 so that people with disabilities can be assisted in running for elected office in next year’s council elections.

As part of an effort to tackle under-representation in town halls, grants averaging £4,000 will be made available to help cover the costs of campaign expenses, including specialist transport, screen reader software, sign language interpretation and braille transcription.

With almost 9,000 council seats to be contested in local elections in May, the investment is expected to fund around 60 candidates. Officials hope the return of the scheme will encourage the main political parties to prioritise the selection of people with disabilities.

While the grant scheme has been widely welcomed, some have called for the scheme to be expanded to help address under-representation. Applications for grants will be accepted from January.

Lord Porter, chairman of the Local Government Association, said: “Local government thrives on and values councillors, including those with disabilities, willing to put themselves forward for election so that political parties get a choice of quality candidates – those who are capable, vibrant, energetic and engaged, with a commitment to local people. We encourage people with disabilities and a passion for change to strongly consider becoming a councillor to ensure local communities are represented by a diverse pool of people, otherwise they risk missing out on the best.”

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