TOWN hall democracy has been bolstered with the appointment of a new shadow cabinet at Blackpool Council.
The Tory opposition group has appointed four councillors to key roles, with the councillors also having responsibility as lead scrutiny members.
Coun Andrew Stansfield is shadow cabinet member for children’s services, education, schools and younger people; Coun Maxine Callow is shadow cabinet member for regeneration and urban development, tourism and culture; Coun Lily Henderson is shadow cabinet member for health and well being and adult social care, and Coun Tony Lee is shadow cabinet member for housing, crime and community safety.
Conservative group leader Coun Tony Williams said: “The members will be tasked to examine all the decisions made by their Labour counterparts and challenge where necessary.
“They will provide an alternative political voice for residents, and will also work in a positive manner with the Labour administration in any joint issues which are of a common interest to the people of Blackpool and of a non political nature.
“Residents can be confident more scrutiny will be implemented on major decisions and actions and they will also be able to contact the shadow cabinet members if there are any specific problems they feel are not being addressed.”
All lead scrutiny members, from both parties, receive an allowance of £2,849.
Blackpool Council leader Coun Simon Blackburn welcomed the appointments.
He said: “When I was the leader of the opposition, I appointed a shadow cabinet but at that time there was no money to pay them.
“In the interests of robust democracy, I was happy to support the Conservative group’s request for paid shadow cabinet positions, to encourage their members to play a more active role in the scrutiny of cabinet decisions.
“I am sure they will use these positions to make a positive contribution to the democratic process.
“I also insisted, having won the election, the leader of the opposition had some secretarial support and improved office facilities, as I believe it is vital for democracy the official opposition are sufficiently well resourced to hold the ruling group to account.”