Devon leader re-elected as voice for South West

Posted on: 17 July 2015

Devon County Council leader John Hart has been re-elected as the voice of the South West.

He was voted in unopposed as the chairman of South West Councils for a second two-year term on Friday (July 17).

The organisation represents all 41 county, unitary and district councils stretching from Cornwall to Gloucestershire and Wiltshire.

It also includes the local police and fire authorities as well as the national parks.

Mr Hart was unanimously re-elected as chairman at South West Councils’ annual meeting in Exeter.

He said: “It’s a tremendous privilege to have been re-elected to chair South West Councils.

“This region has many issues in common and we need to present a united front to the Government to ensure we do not remain the poor relation when it comes to funding.

“We must also ensure that the South West is not at the back of the queue behind Scotland and the North West when it comes to winning more devolved powers and the money to pay for them.

“We need to continue to improve the resilience of our road and rail network.

“We need to improve the supply of affordable housing for our young families who are often priced out of buying a home where they grew up.

“We must stimulate our economy by improving communications with the rest of the country, ensuring fast broadband coverage for our rural areas at an affordable price and promoting greater skills and employment for our young people.

“And we must provide good care for our rising population of elderly people.

“The South West has long been the poor relation when it comes to funding.

“I will continue to work with councils across the region to be a voice for the South West in Westminster and Whitehall and to campaign for a fair deal for local people.”

The annual meeting heard from Local Government Minister, Baroness Susan Williams, who spoke about the Government’s drive to devolve powers to local councils and Tiverton and Honiton MP Neil Parish who chairs the Parliamentary Select Committee on the environment, farming and rural affairs.

Also elected at today’s meeting were deputy chairman Steve Jordan from Cheltenham Borough Council and vice chairmen Harvey Siggs from Mendip District Council, Helen Holland from Bristol City Council and Robert Gould from Dorset County Council.

Posted in: Politics