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Lib Dems annouce proposed Front Bench Team

May 16, 2006 10:10 AM

Rochdale Borough Liberal Democrat's have announced a team of Councillors expected to lead the Borough over the next year. At a Group Meeting on the night of Thursday 12 May, the party chose their team expected to be given the thumbs up at the Annual Meeting of the Council on Wednesday 17 May.

The Lib Dems are seeking to change a number of departments to fit in with their Manifesto Commitments. This includes a new Townships Portfolio - with the aim of more power being devolved down to the Townships - led by Councillor Keith Swift. The Townships will remain in the four areas: Heywood, Pennines, Rochdale and Middleton. In their election material, the Liberal Democrats said they wanted to see more local input into how money is spent across the Borough, and they intend this to be led by the Townships, who will increase their involvement with area groups and committees. The other major change is a new Portfolio Holder for Older People, which former Mayor, Councillor Angela Coric will head up. The Leisure Trust, the Leisure and Social Inclusion Portfolio will become part of this department.

Leader of Rochdale Liberal Democrats, Councillor Alan Taylor, who is expected to become Leader of the Council next week said: "We will be recommending to the Council next week that they accept our appointments. We have an exciting, experienced team who will really change the direction of this Council for the better. I'm delighted to see Councillor Irene Davidson has been given an opportunity to continue the excellent job she did in 2004/05, as Portfolio Holder for Health and Social Care. Councillor David Clayton, who is an experienced teacher, will lead the Children Schools and Families Department in this vital year. The first thing he will look at is the closure of Alice Ingham and Alkington Moss Schools. Councillor Mohammad Sharif will be continuing the hard work of Shah Wazir (who did the job in 2004/05) in the position in charge of Regeneration.

"We are delighted that Wera and William Hobhouse have accepted high profile roles within the Cabinet. Wera is a keen environmentalist and will be excellent leading in the key Environment & Sustainability area. William has really proved an asset to our group since being elected - he is facing a challenging year overseeing finance in the Borough. I am hugely confident that he will do an excellent job. Councillor Ted Flynn will use over 20 years experience as Crime and Community Safety Portfolio Holder, and the experienced Zulfiqar Ali will prove vital in the role of Community Cohesion and Housing Boss."

The Liberal Democrats also intend appointing two deputy leaders, Councillors Zulfiqar Ali and Irene Davidson, a position adopted by many other authorities in the country. The intention is this will enable the Leadership to be in a position to visit more people and investigate more problems.

All appointments are subject to ratification at Wednesday's Council Meeting. The Conservative and Labour Groups have the opportunity to form a coalition and vote against any of the appointments, although they are not expected to.

The Liberal Democrat proposed Cabinet

Leader of the Council Cllr Alan Taylor

Health & Social Care Portfolio Cllr Irene Davidson

Children Schools & Families Portfolio Cllr David Clayton

Environment & Sustainability Portfolio Cllr Wera Hobhouse

Community Cohesion & Housing Portfolio Cllr Zulfiqar Ali

Townships Portfolio Cllr Keith Swift

Finance Portfolio Cllr William Hobhouse

Older Person's Portfolio Cllr Angela Coric

Crime & Community Safety Portfolio Cllr Ted Flynn

Regeneration Portfolio Cllr Mohammad Shariff

Chairman of Rochdale Township Cllr Elwyn Watkins