Thurrock Labour announce new cabinet

Thurrock Council Leader, Cllr John Kent has announced his cabinet for the coming year.

There are some changes and several posts remain the same. The nine-strong team includes one new cabinet member and one returning member.

Cllr Kent himself is retaining the education portfolio and his deputy, Cllr Barbara Rice keeps adult social care and health.

Others keeping the same portfolios are councillors Bukky Okunade (children’s social care) and Andy Smith (transport and regeneration).

Cllr Phil Smith moves from central services to public protection, taking the post vacated by former councillor Angie Gaywood, and Cllr Victoria Holloway moves from environment to central services – including transformation.

Cllr Lynn Worrall takes on the housing portfolio after Cllr Val Morris-Cook stepped down, and Cllr Tony Fish returns to cabinet after his civic duties as deputy and then Mayor of Thurrock in environment.

The new member of cabinet is Cllr Richard Speight who will be taking on the communities portfolio vacated by Cllr Worrall.

Cllr Kent said: “First I’d like to say we’ll miss Angie Gaywood. Her determination and ability to liaise closely with partners and colleagues brought great success. I am sure Phil Smith will bring his eye for detail to the role.

“I’d also like to say we’ll all miss Val Morris-Cook too. I’m sure we’ll still hear her insightful comments at council meetings and Lynn will find the housing portfolio stimulating with all the exciting things that are going on there.”

He added: “It’s a welcome back for Tony Fish and I am certain he’ll find the environment portfolio interesting and I think we will all welcome Richard Speight to the cabinet.

“His communities portfolio has expanded slightly and will include the Fairness Commission which he piloted through overview and scrutiny and cabinet earlier this year, and welfare reform.”

“Personally I’m really looking forward to another year as Leader and looking after education. I think I personally got around to visiting around two-thirds of all our schools last year. I’ll certainly visit the others in the next few months.

“Barbara Rice, Andy Smith and Bukky Okunade have all made their mark on their portfolios over the past year or two and have work and projects to take forward.

“Looking ahead all members of the cabinet are going to have a busy year as the next round of funding reductions hit hard.

“I know that officers have been working hard before, during and after the election period, and in July we will have a first look at what proposals they have come up with. That will no doubt be the first in a series of difficult decisions we will be facing as a council.”

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