The newly re-elected Leader of North Yorkshire County Council has set out his priorities and hopes for the future in a message to the people of the county – and pledged that the authority will “work to achieve the best for North Yorkshire.”
Councillor John Weighell, who was re-elected Leader at today’s annual meeting of the council at County Hall in Northallerton, said:
This month’s elections, and the new faces it has brought into our midst would provide renewed impetus for progress.
The priorities for North Yorkshire are varied and far reaching.
North Yorkshire has an ageing population, which creates increasing demand for health and care services. We will continue to work with private, public and volunteer partners to support the elderly and vulnerable, helping them to remain independent and in their own homes for as long as possible. This has already been seen in programmes like our extra care housing developments, the use of telecare equipment and intensive short-term support for people in need.
The council’s new responsibility for overseeing public health in the county will enable it to be part of further innovative work to improve the health and wellbeing of residents of all ages. Our challenge is to join up our work with that of the NHS.
We will continue to protect and educate our children, striving to make the county one of the best places for children and young people to grow up.
Following three harsh and damaging winters, we will invest in maintaining our roads and, where possible, improving them, for example the recent upgrading of the A19 junction at Barlby.
Reducing the amount of waste produced in the county will remain a priority, as will managing material that cannot be recycled or reused to gain maximum benefit from it.
We will help North Yorkshire’s economy grow through the work of the local enterprise partnership and the continuing expansion of high-speed fibre broadband and by taking full advantages of the long-lasting opportunities offered by next year’s visit to the county of the Tour de France.
Actions we take to address all these issues will be set against a background of ongoing financial constraint as a result of reductions in government funding. The council is currently well into a four-year programme that will see it reduce its spending by £91m by 2014/15. Further reductions in funding are expected when the government sets out its spending review for the years from 2015 onwards.
Our priority will always be to protect the frontline services that benefit all residents of North Yorkshire as much as we can, but in these difficult times it is inevitable that the nature of services and the way they are delivered will continue to change. We will seek your views and co-operation in these changes.
Today’s annual meeting also confirmed the holders of the council portfolios, who together make up the Council Executive. They are:
- Councillor Carl Les – Deputy Leader, Executive Member for Central and Financial Services, Assets, IT and Procurement
- Councillor Arthur Barker – Executive Member for Schools, 16-19-year-old education, and early years provision
- Councillor Tony Hall – Executive Member for Children’s Services, Special Needs, Youth Justice, Youth Service and Adult Learning
- Councillor Clare Wood – Executive Member for Adult Social Care and Health Integration
- Councillor Don Mackenzie – Executive Member for Public Health and Prevention
- Councillor Chris Metcalfe – Executive Member for Rural Services, Waste Disposal, Public Passenger Transport, Trading Standards, Economic Development, and Library Services