In what is thought to be a national first, a number of businesses on Teesside, including Endeavour Partnership, have signed up for the “Time to Vote” scheme.
Employees at participating firms can take 20 minutes out of their working day to visit their local polling station. The firms are supporting an idea put forward by independent Middlesbrough mayoral candidate Andy Preston.
It follows a high-profile national campaign to encourage people to register to vote, which was targeted especially at those groups that traditionally don’t vote in large numbers, such as young people.
The turnout in Middlesbrough’s mayoral vote was just 30.87% in 2007 and 36.62% in 2011. General Election turnouts have been higher, with 48.8% in 2005 and 51.4% in 2010. This year both polls are taking place on the same day, this Thursday (May 7).
Firms who have signed up the scheme include Active Chartered Financial Planners, Careys, Ecco Finishing Supplies Limited, Erimus Insurance Brokers, Erimus Web Creations Limited, ESCS Limited, Evolution Forwarding Limited, Evolution LLP, Industrial & Marine Hydraulics, Marton Pharmacy and Therapy Centre, Tees Fire Systems Limited and Vintage Chartered Financial Planners
Jamie Brown, partner at Endeavour Partnership, Teesside’s largest team of corporate lawyers, is one of those behind the idea.
“This is a great opportunity to encourage greater participation in the local and national elections,” he said. “We feel this is particularly important in an area that often has extremely low levels of voter turnout.
“It demonstrates how seriously all the firms involved take their corporate responsibility and I hope as many local businesses as possible will join us.”