Local elections: Guide to the parties' policies

May 22 sees elections for 161 councils in England, including the 32 London boroughs and the town halls in Liverpool, Birmingham and Manchester, among other major cities.

Here is a run-down of the policies and achievements the Conservatives, Labour, Lib Dems and Ukip will be running on.

Conservatives

David Cameron says the Tories are the party who will finish the job of repairing the economy. Credit: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

David Cameron launched the Conservatives' campaign for the local and European elections with a pledge to "finish the job" of repairing the public finances.

With European elections on the same day as the locals, the Prime Minister has also repeated his promise to give the public an in/out referendum on EU membership in 2017, provided the Conservatives win the 2015 general election.

The Tories are pointing to a number of things they have done as part of the coalition government since 2010, including:

  • introducing a cap on welfare so no out-of-work family gets more than the average wage
  • cutting the deficit in the public finances by a third
  • helped create more than 1.6 million new private sector jobs
  • freezing fuel duty
  • raising the threshold for paying income tax

Labour

Ed Miliband has said Labour are the party to address what he calls the 'cost of living crisis'. Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

Labour's local election campaign is centred on a 'Cost of Living Contract' that aims at dealing with the challenge of rising prices and stagnating wages.

Here are some of Ed Miliband's key pledges:

  • build 200,000 home a year by 2020
  • freeze energy bills until 2017
  • raise the minimum wage and create tax breaks for firms that pay the Living Wage
  • introduce three-year tenancies to stop landlords sharply raising rent
  • job guarantee for unemployed young people
  • cutting business rates and reforming bank lending to small businesses

Liberal Democrats

Nick Clegg Credit: Chris Radburn/PA Wire

The Lib Dems are highlighting how their councils have frozen have frozen council tax and protected services.

They have also produced a dossier of £500 million worth of what they claim are 'vanity projects' and "elaborate expenses claims" from Conservative and Labour-run authorities.

The Deputy Prime Minister has also played up his party's record on the economy and green issues, including:

  • raising the threshold for paying income tax
  • supporting the creation of 1.6 million apprenticeships
  • pledging a 'Mansion Tax' on properties worth over £2 million
  • putting £2.5 billion into the Pupil Premium and expanding free school meals
  • increasing the state pension by £650 a years since 2010

Ukip

Nigel Farage is promising local people more control over decisions which afffect their area. Credit: Ben Birchall/PA Wire

Alongside their longstanding commitment to leaving the EU and tightening immigration controls, Nigel Farage's party has a range of pledges affecting local councils.

  • local referendums for major decisions on planning, such as new supermarkets, wind farms or transport projects such as HS2
  • priority for local residents on housing, education, health and social services
  • incentives to convert empty properties and brown-field sites to create more housing
  • oppose the 'Bedroom Tax' that reduces housing benefit for social tenants with spare rooms.
  • restore weekly bin collections if majority of residents want it returned
  • clamp down on councillors' expenses and high pay for council executives
  • cut councils' advertising budgets