Focus on the future

Following an uncertain and difficult couple of months both inside and outside the council, I have now been re-elected as Leader of Kirklees Council.

A lot has been said and written about how and why we were in the position where we temporarily did not have a political leader, but now our focus has to be on the future.

The Jo Cox murder, the EU referendum, and political struggles at a national level have all served to highlight issues and tensions we must address. Leadership has to be at the heart of our response to those issues.

Councillors have to step up their community leadership roles, and I have committed to involving a wider number of councillors so that all 69 have a role; and not just those in Cabinet or on licensing or planning committees.

I have asked Cllr Shabir Pandor to be my deputy – his previous cabinet roles and experience outside the council mean that he brings a challenge and perspective we will need if we are to reach the best decisions for all of Kirklees.

My Cabinet will be:

Name Description of Portfolio or other responsibility
David SheardShabir Pandor LeaderDeputy Leader – Strategy and Strategic Resources, New Council & Regional Issues (Shared Portfolio)
 Peter McBride  Economy, Skills, Transportation & Planning
 Naheed Mather  Housing and Enforcement Management
Musarrat Khan Other Place:Highways and Neighbourhoods
Erin Hill Family Support & Child Protection(Statutory Responsibility for Children)
Viv Kendrick  Adults, Health & Activity to Improve Health(Statutory Responsibility of Adults & Public Health)
 Masood Ahmed  Community Cohesion & Schools
 Graham Turner  Asset Strategy, Resources & Creative Kirklees (Arts)

The challenges we face are huge – we have talked endlessly about finances, but the reality is that we must live within the budgets we have while still tackling our major priorities.

How we work is key to our service delivery in the future – if we can get right the Early Intervention and Prevention and also the Economic Resilience strands, we will see more manageable future demand on services, at the same time as a positive impact on our local economy.

Many of our decisions will be emotive – none of us became councillors so we could close buildings and services down. But hard decisions must be made so we can protect the services we see as essential.

The hard work does not start here – it has been going on for some time – but the pace certainly has to pick up from now on.