The candidates standing in this year’s Caerphilly County Borough Council election have been revealed after nominations closed on April 5.
A total of 73 county borough seats covering 33 electoral wards are up for grabs on Thursday, May 4, with a total of 202 candidates standing.
Labour are hoping to keep control of Caerphilly after winning it from a Plaid Cymru-led administration in 2012.
It currently has 48 seats compared to Plaid’s 20. The remaining five are held by independents.
Since Caerphilly County Borough Council was formed in 1996, following the merger of Rhymney Valley District Council and Islwyn Borough Council and the abolition of Mid Glamorgan and Gwent county councils, it has never been held by the ruling political group.
Labour is putting up 71 candidates, Plaid Cymru 68 and the Conservatives 28.
UKIP is fielding just 11 candidates across Caerphilly County Borough.
Labour’s deputy leader Cllr David Poole, said his party had a record to be proud of and could be trusted to look after services in the face of public spending cuts imposed by the Conservative UK Government.
He said: “We are aware that councillors over the next four years will have to save £29 million, so we have been careful about what we are promising.
“We have been somewhat surprised that Plaid are making promises of taking on extra staff. To do that they have either got to get rid of staff from other areas or cut services.
“We have got a good record. We had the lowest council tax rise in Wales, the highest recycling rates, extra money for education and social services, our libraries have been refurbished while other councils have been closing them and 86% of residents are happy with the job we have done.”
Plaid Cymru, led by Cllr Colin Mann, is fielding what it says to be a record 68 candidates.
Cllr Mann said: “We are expecting a very tough straight fight with Labour but believe our programme of improvements to public services that have been neglected over the last five years will resonate with residents.
“People tell us they don’t believe they are getting value for money for their council tax. They’ve seen worsening litter, fly-tipping, potholes and dog mess while roads and pavements generally have deteriorated.
“We want to address the concerns people have about building on our precious green fields which they feel rightly impact on their quality of life. And, of course, we will ensure the senior officers’ pay scandal never happens again while bringing this terrible waste of public money to an end as quickly as possible.”
UKIP’s Sam Gould, who stood in last year’s Assembly election, disputed the notion that the party had struggled to field candidates.
He said: “We have never fought a council election before, we have the biggest increase in candidates standing in Caerphilly than all the other parties.”
In addition to the county borough council election, a separate ballot will also be taking place to elect community and town councillors.
The county borough council is a unitary authority and has responsibility for a wide range of frontline services from education, highways and refuse to social services, libraries and parks.
Town and community councils have limited powers and responsibilities and provide a link between the local community and the county borough council.