New Ealing Council Leadership Team Announced

No indication yet of change of direction on planning or transport matters

The new cabinet, l-r Back - Cllr Josh Blacker, Cllr Kamaljit Kaur Nagpal, Cllr Steve Donnelly. 2nd row - Cllr Aysha Raza, Cllr Shital Manro. 3rd row - Cllr Jasbir Anand, Cllr Lauren Wall. Front row - Cllr Deirdre Costigan, Cllr Peter Mason, Cllr Bassam MahfouzThe new cabinet, l-r Back - Cllr Josh Blacker, Cllr Kamaljit Kaur Nagpal, Cllr Steve Donnelly. 2nd row - Cllr Aysha Raza, Cllr Shital Manro. 3rd row - Cllr Jasbir Anand, Cllr Lauren Wall. Front row - Cllr Deirdre Costigan, Cllr Peter Mason, Cllr Bassam Mahfouz.

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Following the confirmation of Councillor Peter Mason as the new leader at the Full Ealing council Annual General Meeting this Tuesday (18 May) a new cabinet team has been announced.

The titles of the positions have been rebranded with the new cabinet made up as follows:

• Councillor Deirdre Costigan, deputy leader and member for climate action
• Councillor Steve Donnelly, member for inclusive economy
• Councillor Lauren Wall, member for genuinely affordable homes
• Councillor Shital Manro, member for good growth
• Councillor Bassam Mahfouz, member for decent living incomes
• Councillor Jasbir Anand, member for thriving communities
• Councillor Kamaljit Kaur Nagpal, member for fairer start
• Councillor Aysha Raza, member for tackling inequality
• Councillor Josh Blacker, member for healthy lives

Councillors no longer holding cabinet positions include Mik Sabiers, who worked closely with previous council leader Julian Bell, and Yvonne Johnson who previously held the education portfolio.

Councillor Mason said, “Yesterday I announced my cabinet team, which reflects the diversity in gender, ethnicity, age, sexual orientation, faith, culture and geography of our borough.

"It is the honour of my life to be elected to lead on an agenda of change and doing things differently.

"I will lead an open, inclusive and transparent council, that engages local people in the challenges we face.

“The past year has been relentless. Responding to the pandemic has been the biggest challenge we have ever faced, and the residents of Ealing have collectively risen to that challenge with a million acts of loving kindness and bags and bags of resilience.

“As we emerge from the worst period of this pandemic, there are new and huge challenges ahead. To respond, I and the new cabinet, are setting three priorities:

• Rebuilding our economy, returning good well-paid jobs to our borough and delivering the next generation of genuinely affordable homes.
• Greening our borough by tackling the climate crisis, cleaning our air and ensuring the borough we build is sustainable.
• Relentlessly tackling poverty and inequality that blights too many lives and disproportionately holds back all too many people from achieving their dreams and aspirations.

"These are challenges that we need to tackle together, and I look forward to sharing more on how we are going to tackle them in the coming weeks. I give you my commitment that my focus will be on changing Ealing for the better."

The new leadership team has yet to give any indication of any major policy shift from the Julian Bell era. Cllr Mason previously held the housing portfolio in the cabinet under Julian Bell and one of his first acts as leader was to write to the campaign group Clear Air for Southall and Hayes (CASH). In the letter he says, “In the coming days, I will be setting out the change in direction my administration will be making on planning and regeneration.” Cllr Mason is believed not to have publicly stated his position on the Perceval House development in the centre of Ealing.

Cllr Manro will take cabinet responsibility for planning and Cllr Costigan for transport, although on active travel it will be the joint responsibility of Cllrs Costigan and Blacker. At this stage there has been no statement from the new leadership team on the issue of Low Traffic Neighbourhood Schemes.

The meeting also saw the election of Cllr Munir Ahmed as Mayor of Ealing. He has been a councillor for seven years representing Perivale ward.

The new Mayor’s charity for 2021/22 will be Home Start Ealing, a local charity which has provided support to families in the Ealing area since 1996.

The new Mayor of Ealing - Cllr Munir Ahmed
The new Mayor of Ealing - Cllr Munir Ahmed

The creation of two extra cabinet posts plus an extra allowance for the Vice-Chair of the borough’s Equalities Commission has attracted criticism from the Conservatives on Ealing Council

On the eve of the Annual Council Meeting, a report was published to request the creation of the additional roles and provision of the allowance at an annual cost of £35,000.

Cllr Gregory Stafford, Leader of the Opposition, said, "Cllr Mason's first act as the Leader of the Council is to reward his cronies for helping him to achieve the crown he so ultimately coveted and plotted to wear. New Leader, but same old Labour!

“The Council Report states that the ‘financial implications of these change proposals can be met from existing council resources’. Yet, when it comes to saving services that residents need, there are no existing council resources to save them. Residents would prefer this money was spent helping to keep the Acton Recycling site open or improving street sweeping, or paying catering staff a living wage.

“Cllr Mason might be a new Leader, but he is the same old Labour at heart. Rather than addressing residents' priorities, he is rewarding his Labour cronies on taxpayers' funds."

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May 20, 2021

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