POLITICALLY SPEAKING: Here’s what the new leader of Wakefield Council has to say in her first column

“I am really pleased to have been given the opportunity by the Express to continue this column as the new council leader,” writes Coun Denise Jeffery.

Thursday, 19th December 2019, 10:34 am

I very much value our local newspaper and the role it plays in keeping people informed and campaigning for issues that matter to its readers, and I hope to use this column as a way to update you on what your council is doing, as well as highlighting some key challenges and how we might address them.

I’m also keen to get your feedback and hope you’ll get in touch with me at [email protected]

The result of the general election last week means that the government is now driving forward with Brexit. We have been working with councils and partners across the Yorkshire and Humber region for some time now to try and ensure we are as prepared as possible for the impact of leaving the EU.

Coun Denise Jeffery, the new leader of Wakefield Council.

This work will step up again and we will be doing everything we can to support residents and businesses get ready for this and maximise any opportunities it might bring for the district.

But most importantly, I hope the country can now move on from the division and difficulties of this year and all come together, treating each other with respect and value.

As we consider what 2020 may hold for us, I’d like you to know that I am passionate about all our places and growing our economy in a way that tackles poverty and helps ordinary people.

I believe we all want a district that supports everyone who lives, works and visits here and provides opportunities to improve lives for residents and their families.

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I want this council to continue to do our best for people in the district, for example to help people into employment, through opportunities to gain new skills. I also believe we need to do more about responding to climate change.

The council declared a climate emergency this May and it is a priority for us to develop and deliver concrete actions to protect all our futures.

Next year, we intend to build on what we have achieved this year and try and ensure everyone across the district benefits from what we do.

Preparations for the 2020/21 budget are underway and I have always said that this council’s budget-setting process should not be about what we are not doing, but about what our priorities for action and investment are for the coming year.

I’d like your help to do this so please take the time to tell us what matters most to you – you have until January 6 and can do it at www.wakefield.gov.uk/budget.

I hope you, your families and loved ones have a lovely Christmas, whatever you are doing and wherever you are spending it.

I’d like to give my thanks and appreciation to everyone who goes out of their way to care for and support others throughout the year and during the festive season.

As always, special thanks go to those delivering frontline and emergency services over the holiday