Following the announcement of a Conservative / Lib Dem coalition to run Reading a lot of hard work has continued to finalise the terms of the agreement and the Cabinet that will form the administration.
It is the first time in 27 years that Labour has not formed the administration in Reading and therefore we approached the task with enthusiasm and energy, and a positive attitude.
The number of Cabinet posts has been cut to nine and the Special Responsibility Allowances have all been cut by 10%. With the Lib Dems having a total of 9 Councillors and the Conservatives 17, it was agreed that the Cabinet posts should be allocated on a 1:2 ratio.
The new Cabinet is therefore:
Leader of the Council – Cllr Andrew Cumpsty (Cons)
Deputy Leader of the Council – Cllr Kirsten Bayes (Lib Dem)
Finance & Service Improvement – Cllr David Stevens (Cons)
Communities, Voluntary Sector, Economic Development & Performance – Cllr Mike Townend (Cons)
Culture & Sport – Cllr Tom Stanway (Cons)
Education & Children’s Services – Cllr Mark Ralph (Cons)
Environment & Sustainability – Cllr Warren Swaine (Lib Dem)
Community Care, Housing & Health – Cllr Daisy Benson (Lib Dem)
Strategic Planning & Transport – Cllr Richard Willis (Cons)
The following Chairmen of Committees were appointed:
Licensing – Cllr Jeanette Skeats (Cons) / Vice Chmn – Cllr Glenn Goodall (Lib Dem)
Planning – Cllr Isobel Ballsdon (Cons) / Vice Chmn – Cllr Kirsten Bayes (Lib Dem)
Personnel – Cllr Kirsten Bayes (Lib Dem) / Vice Chmn – Cllr Tom Steele (Cons)
Standards – Mr J Hicks / Vice Chmn – Cllr Peter Beard (Lib Dem)
In addition I was very pleased to see Cllr Jenny Rynn nominated as Deputy Mayor and therefore will normally be Mayor next year. The Mayor for this year will be Labour’s Cllr Gul Khan.
Labour were pretty subdued tonight, although they pulled the futile gesture of calling for a recorded vote on the unopposed nomination of Cllr Andrew Cumpsty as Leader of the Council. Unsurprisingly they were defeated on the vote. It was an early lesson for some of the powerlessness of opposition.