FIVE parties and a number of independent candidates in Halton will be vying for votes in Thursday’s local elections.

Labour, Conservatives, the Liberal Democrats, the Green Party and Reform UK – formerly the Brexit Party – will all be aiming to take seats in what could be one of the most unpredictable elections in recent years.

In his pitch to voters, Labour’s current leader Rob Polhill – who is due to step down from the role of leader if re-elected – said government cuts since 2010 had hit the borough hard.

He said: “Under a Labour administration we will, as always, continue protecting our most vulnerable people, continue promoting businesses in the borough, invest in green renewable energy and endeavour to meet the challenges that this government keeps throwing at us.”

Conservative leader John Bradshaw said that, as the minority party in the Borough, he felt it was important to influence the council on issues such as the green belt, area forums, council spending and council tax.

He said: “Halton under Labour government leadership always spent wastefully and with large increases in Council Tax.

“Under Conservative governments they were controlled by limit and are far more efficient by necessity.

“As councillors, we work to ensure this continues.”

Liberal Democrat leader Margaret Ratcliffe said her party’s priorities are to protect the green belt and campaign for toll-free use of both bridges.

She said: “Halton needs a stronger opposition to challenge the decision-making of the Labour Party which has run Halton since 1974.

“We are certain that more people will want a change this year and vote for our party as the main opposition in Halton.”

Local Green Party leader Lyndsay McAteer said her party would campaign to protect the green belt, tackle the climate emergency and push for better public transport.

She said: “For too long, people have felt disempowered by the one party state of Halton Borough Council.

“People deserve better, and they deserve opposition councillors who will vigorously challenge bad decision making.

“Green Party councillors will be determined to hold this council to account.”

Reform UK was contacted for comment.