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Joe KellyIt gives me great pleasure to represent the Liberal Democrats in this year's local elections. At 21, I could well be the youngest candidate in this year's election. I passionately believe that age shouldn't be a factor in people voting. Indeed, I would like to see the voting age lowered to 16 so that more people can have their say. At 16, young people in our borough can leave home and school, work full-time, pay taxes, get married, fight in wars and the rest. Quite why they can't vote is a mystery to me. If elected, I will ensure that our council throws its weight behind the votes at 16 campaign.

This year, I am graduating from university. I am studying film making and script writing. I would have much preferred to have studied for my degree in Rochdale than Bolton. That's why I fully back the local Liberal Democrat campaign to try and get Hopwood Hall and Rochdale Sixth Form Colleges to offer degrees. It makes perfect sense for someone like me especially when you consider that you can get a degree in places like Oldham, Bolton and Huddersfield.

Rochdale is at the heart of the "Northern Powerhouse". Our young people should be equipped with the right skills and qualifications to ensure we take full advantage of this. I fully support our Youth Service and the excellent work it does and I am please that the Lib Dems will do a fully a thorough review of the work it does and improve it accordingly. The Rochdale borough has seen a huge increase in apprenticeships and we will build on this by working with employers to fund apprenticeships on a 50/50 split with employers.

Lib Dems also aim to make the borough a beacon for the creative industries. Rochdale is the biggest town in Britain without a theatre - we will change this and work to give our town the facilities it deserves. We will pioneer tax breaks for individuals and small companies involved in the arts and the creative and cultural sectors. We will create a hub for creative industries and encourage them by removing small business rates. We will focus on arts and heritage to regenerate our town centre.

Please support my campaign to be the next councillor for Wardle and West Littleborough.