Cabinet change cuts price of democracy

Blackpool Council Leader Simon Blackburn
Blackpool Council Leader Simon Blackburn
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TOWN hall boss Coun Simon Blackburn has revealed his new cabinet which will make the big decisions for Blackpool.

He told The Gazette the authority will operate with a revamped and enlarged cabinet system under the new Labour administration.

Coun Blackburn said the changes were made with overall cost-savings in mind.

He added: “We have made significant changes to the way in which the council operates – the cabinet now contains the leader, deputy leader and eight members, rather than four or five as has been the practice in recent years. Yet we are abolishing several other posts.

“The net effect of these changes over the next four years, is to substantially reduce the costs of democracy in Blackpool.

“A further announcement regarding councillors pay and benefits will be made within the next 48 hours, which will put a final figure on this.”

Coun Fred Jackson has been named deputy leader while Coun Blackburn’s partner, newly-elected Coun Gillian Campbell, has been installed as cabinet member for housing.

Re-installed councillor Eddie Collett will be responsible for crime and community safety while Coun Ivan Taylor is in charge of education.

Coun Graham Cain will take charge of tourism while Coun Gary Coleman has been named cabinet member for regeneration.

Meanwhile, the new leader of Blackpool’s Conservative Party says he has the good of the town at heart.

Coun Peter Evans, a member for Stanley Ward, was voted in after former leader Coun Peter Callow lost out on Monday night.

It followed Thursday’s election defeat which saw the Labour group gain the majority and put Coun Simon Blackburn into power.

Coun Evans, said it was too early to make promises but the regeneration of Blackpool was a top priority.

He added: “We want to get the Promenade back open as soon as possible to relieve congestion.

“I’d also like to see St John’s Square used more and to get the shops filled in the town centre.”

New deputy leader Coun Tony Williams praised Coun Callow for an “outstanding job” as leader.

He added: “You don’t keep leadership for 13 years unless you have done something remarkable.

“The loss of the election is in no way a reflection of the great job he did but if you don’t change you don’t move on.”