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Time to pull together, new council leader urges

14 December 2017

Councillor Allen Brett.

The new leader of Rochdale Borough Council has called for unity and asked people to “pull together” as he begins his new role.

Councillor Allen Brett spoke after a council meeting at Rochdale town hall on Wednesday, 13 December 2017 saw him installed as the 16th leader of Rochdale Borough Council since the authority was formed in 1973.

The retired teacher, who started his career in teaching in 1969 having qualified at what is now Hopwood Hall College, was first elected to public office on the previous Greater Manchester Council.

He has been a member of the Labour Party for the last 40 years and has held most senior posts on the council, including a previous short period as leader in 2005.

He spent 2 years teaching in Uganda and ended his secondary school teaching career in Middleton before going on to youth work and lecturing at universities.

Councillor Brett said: “It’s a great honour to be the new leader of Rochdale Borough Council. I would like to thank all of the colleagues who supported me but also reach out to those that didn’t. It’s important that we all now work together to ensure that the great work being done by this council continues - and that our borough continues to improve and that we stake a claim as one of the key areas in Greater Manchester.

“We have made significant improvements in education, regeneration and services for people who need looking after but I want to drive standards up even further. We need to do more to tackle poverty pay, end the scandal of homelessness and look after the most vulnerable in our borough.”

A new cabinet team (9 councillors who are responsible for strategic decisions) was also unveiled at the meeting. It includes four new appointments, with 2 who are the youngest ever cabinet members to be appointed in Rochdale.

Councillor Brett added: “We are giving 2 of our brightest young councillors an opportunity to come in and be part of the cabinet. I’m not sure how many other councils have cabinets that include 2 people in their mid-20s but it’s something I’m proud to say that we have now.”

New cabinet positions

Cabinet position Cabinet memberAssistant cabinet member
Corporate and resources Councillor Allen Brett (leader of the council)Councillor Aasim Rashid
Regeneration Councillor John BlundellCouncillor Shah Wazir
Health and wellbeing Councillor Sara RowbothamCouncillor Sameena Zaheer
Business, skills and employment Councillor Liam O’RourkeCouncillor John Hartley
Neighbourhoods, community and culture Councillor Janet EmsleyCouncillor Daniel Meredith
Housing and environment Councillor Neil EmmottCouncillor Linda Robinson
Children’s services Councillor Kieran HeakinCouncillor Donna Martin
Adult care Councillor Iftikhar AhmedCouncillor Billy Sheerin
Planning and development Councillor Daalat AliCouncillor Ali Ahmed
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