TODAY is D-day for Worcester councillors - the day when voters get the chance to make and break political careers via the ballot box.

It is local election time and voters have until 10pm to have their say on who runs the city council.

Tension will grip the Guildhall as 45 hopefuls wait while the verdict is delivered.

A third of the city council is up for election in 12 wards tonight, with the controlling Conservative council defending a one-seat majority.

It has 18 councillors compared with 10 from Labour, three from the Liberal Democrats and four independents.

Tories are confident they will hold on to their position, while opposition parties are feeling optimistic about the night, too.

Conservative leader Coun Stephen Inman said: "I am confident all our candidates will do very well. Although local elections should be about local issues, many people will be voting on the appalling record in recent weeks of the Labour government."

Leader of the Labour group Coun Adrian Gregson said: "Despite all the national stuff going on, I still think we can pick up one or two seats.

"We would hope the Tories are not in overall control when the night is over. We hope they lose their majority."

Association of Independents leader Coun Mike Layland said: "I think turn-out will be low, and I think it will be very interesting.

"I don't like to predict elections anymore, but this reminds me of back in 1968 when Labour did very badly."

The Liberal Democrats, Green party and BNP will also be fielding candidates.

Liberal Democrat councillor Liz Smith said: "We're hopeful of doing well.

"I think national issues do affect local elections, and given the polls say we have improved over the last few weeks, we're hoping voting in Worcester reflects that."

Returning officer Philip Betts is hopeful of a `normal' turnout, which is just under a third of the electorate.

"I'm expecting it to be around 30 per cent," he said.

"If it's 35 or 36 per cent, that'll be good, but if it's below 30 per cent, it won't be so good. Some wards this year are fielding five candidates so it will take a while to count them up."