VOTERS are twice as likely to trust local politicians to improve their areas than national politicians, according to new polling published ahead of the local and mayoral elections.

As people across the country prepare to elect more than 5,000 councillors and ten metro mayors, new polling has shown many believe further devolution could help solve the issues faced in their regions.

More than a third (37 per cent) of those polled said local government should have more power and resources to solve local issues, compared to just 11 per cent who said it should have less.

Three in five of respondents (59 per cent) said people’s lives had worsened in their local areas over the last ten years. Of these, 40 per cent believe national government is responsible for that decline with only 13 per cent blaming local government.

However, many believe local politicians are best placed to tackle the issues of their area. Two fifths (38 per cent) of those polled think things would have been better in their area over the last ten years if local government had more power and resources, with only 15 per cent thinking it would have made things worse.

The polling has been published alongside a new report from Reclaiming Our Regional Economies (RORE), a programme developed by the New Economics Foundation (NEF), the Centre for Local Economic Strategies (CLES), Co-operatives UK and the Centre for Thriving Places (CTP), which sets out how devolution can build stronger local economies.

Report author Tom Lloyd-Goodwin, Director of Policy and Practice at CLES, said: “The government has made ​‘levelling up’ a clear mission to improve people’s lives across the country, but what we see are wide regional inequalities and a growing sense that things are getting worse.

“Rather than pitting councils against one another to compete for inadequate sums of money, it’s clear that people want to see more resources and more powers for the politicians who are there on the ground with them.

“In the context of a wider mistrust of politicians and the political institutions more generally, it is vital that we capitalise on the trust there is for local government. To do this we need to see national government give regions the power to build their own strong and sustainable economies through a fairer funding model, greater public participation in local decisions and encouraging innovation.”

* Read: Reclaiming our regions: How combined authorities can help to build more inclusive local economies here.

* Source: New Economics Foundation