MORE needs to be done to increase the numbers of young people, women, people from ethnic minorities, LGBT people and people with disabilities standing for election to local government in Wales, according to a new report.
The study by the Expert Group on Local Government Diversity proposes a target of 40 per cent female candidates in winnable seats at the next elections, and a mentoring scheme where existing members help potential future members to develop the necessary skills and knowledge.
Swansea West AM Julie James said: "While I welcome the report's recommendations it is disappointing that it has identified that only 28 per cent of elected representatives across Wales were female and only two per cent of elected councillors identified themselves as lesbian, gay or bisexual, in comparison to five per cent of unelected candidates. Clearly there is still some way to go to right this wrong."
Swansea East AM Mike Hedges added: "The Wales wide figures are disappointing and we need to take action. However, representation on Swansea Council seems to moving in the right direction. It has a gender mix of 43 men and 29 women, with at least two of the men openly gay.
"On age there has been a remarkable shift with at least four still in their early 20s, including Mitch Theaker who I believe is the youngest cabinet member in Wales."