I've led our district for four years, investing in our community
Under my leadership we've protected essential services, and won millions of pounds of funding for regeneration, green skills and to combat fuel poverty. Through the pandemic I worked to ensure no household was left behind, that support was there for everyone who needed it, that workplaces were safe and businesses were supported. Our investment into community hubs across the district, inspired by the powerful voluntary and community sector that shone during the pandemic, is building the foundations to deal with the cost of living crisis.
I have taken action on the climate emergency
When I became council leader in 2018 we became the second council in the UK to declare a climate emergency, and we have now adopted an ambitious strategy for the district to be carbon neutral by 2030. I have worked to put community voice at the heart of this work, as well as building partnerships to bring in funds for investment into green skills, retrofit, and regeneration. In 2021 SDC was recognised nationally as showing “outstanding leadership in responding to the climate emergency”.
I am helping build a fairer more equal local economy
I led the district's economic recovery plan coming out of the pandemic, securing new funding for economic development, supporting our high streets, and creating a new economic strategy with community wealth building and wellbeing at its heart, to meet the challenges of rising inequality and the climate emergency.
I have stood up for working people
Trade unions are at the heart of the Labour Party. I have led the council's adoption of Unite’s Construction Charter, the TUC’s Dying to Work Charter, the Modern Slavery Charter, and ensured that social value has been incorporated into all aspects of council procedures.
We have brought housing repairs and maintenance back in-house and changed the council's procurement policy to encourage spending to go to local suppliers. We supported our council officers through the pandemic with flexible working and support for staff welfare, and in our five-year council plan have included a commitment to work with unions to support fair employment, increase local union membership, and encourage more local businesses to be Real Living Wage employers. With my support we have elected more working class and trade unionist councillors.
I am a leading campaigner
I have won my own ward three times, defeating the incumbent Tory and increasing votes for Labour, and I led for Labour in our district's successful campaign to Remain in the EU. I've led local campaigns on health, transport, education and climate change, and I've challenged Siobhan Baillie repeatedly on her failure to speak out against pandemic cronyism, and her voting record against the universal credit cut and the Nationality and Borders Bill. In 2021 I brought together an election team that ran a focussed, positive, election campaign, holding our own against national trends and gaining national recognition for our achievements.
I have always stood strong against hate and discrimination
I and my family have been victims of discrimination and hate and I have consistently spoken out condemning hate crime. Under my leadership Stroud District Council adopted theIHRA definition of antisemitism in 2020 and I lead the council's participation in the commemoration of Holocaust Memorial Day. I responded to the challenge of Black Lives Matter to do more to put anti-racism, equality and diversity at the heart of the council's work and instigated a community-led review of street names and monuments including the Blackboy statue.