The outgoing Labour leader of Brighton and Hove City Council, Nancy Platts, has spoken about her year at the helm as she handed over to the Greens.
Councillor Platts congratulated Green convenor Phélim Mac Cafferty on taking charge and pledged to work constructively as Labour becomes the official opposition party.
She said: “It has been a privilege and an honour to lead the city I love over the past year.
“Leading Brighton and Hove City Council is a huge commitment, in which you need to be available at all hours. That’s why I left my job to take on this role and I have no regrets about that.
“I’m so lucky to call this city home and it is with great pride that I have led the city council, putting progressive policies into action and representing Brighton and Hove at a regional and national level.
“I want to thank the officers who have worked tirelessly over the past year and who deserve enormous gratitude for the dedication they have shown to making our city a better place to live and visit.
“I am proud of the achievements of this Labour administration, both since 2015 and of the manifesto that we stood on in the local elections.
“Since May 2019 we have continued to prioritise building more homes, including council homes and affordable housing.
“We have set up a climate assembly to achieve our goal of becoming a carbon neutral city by 2030 and I have enjoyed working with a cross-party group – and now advisers and experts from across the city – on this project. It is essential that this work continues.
“More recently we have helped to steer the city through an unprecedented public health crisis and focused our efforts on economic recovery, backing our local businesses and supporting our most vulnerable residents, including children, those with disabilities, older people and homeless people.
“We must never forget that during such hard times many people in our city are not interested in party political differences.
“They are forced to focus on the basics like keeping a roof over their head and ensuring their kids don’t go hungry.
“We must continue to support our food banks and the most disadvantaged in our society.
“We made disabled bus passes available to use 24/7, set up a Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic community engagement fund, rolled out more electric vehicle charging points and e-cargo bikes, distributed grants to youth projects around the city and lobbied government for rent control powers and further support for small businesses.
“We can take pride in the legacy of upcoming works at Black Rock, the reopening of Shelter Hall and the regeneration of our seafront, as well as the increase in council and affordable homes.
“Let’s not forget that by working in a constructive way with opposition groups, we have gained support for a corporate plan that puts Labour pledges into council policy, a City Plan that provides a blueprint for sustainable development and a progressive and balanced budget in difficult financial circumstances.
“Now, it is important to bring the city together – at this time of unprecedented public health and economic crisis – and enable a smooth transition of administration to the largest party.
“We are committed to putting the interests of residents and businesses of the city before party politics.
“We must now build on the work we have done to create a fairer city with a sustainable future and continue to serve our residents from opposition by holding the new administration to account.
“We appreciate that lots of people in the city have put time and effort into petitions and deputations to come forward to full council, which is why we support setting up a special council meeting in August for all of these to be heard.
“Thank you to everyone who has worked so hard to serve our residents and businesses over the past year, to officers, the councillors of all political parties and to my own Labour group for their dedication and commitment over the last year.
“I have received an overwhelming number of lovely messages and want to thank everyone who has taken the time and trouble to get in touch – it is very thoughtful.
“I haven’t yet had time to reply to everyone but I want you to know I have received them and they are much appreciated.
“I want to congratulate Councillor Mac Cafferty and the Green group on their new responsibilities.
“The Labour group will play our part in handing over and supporting the new administration get to grips with leading the council at such a difficult time.
“We also look forward to working co-operatively and constructively with you.”
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