CLLR Anna Smith has been appointed as Leader of Cambridge City Council after councillors approved her nomination at a special meeting of the full council yesterday.
Cllr Smith will lead the council as it continues to deliver on its commitments to tackle poverty and inequality, lead the city’s response to the climate change emergency and to provide quality services for residents.
She will also steer the council’s ambitious programme, Our Cambridge, that will seek to transform the way the council provides its services in the coming years. In keeping with the council’s vision of One Cambridge – Fair For All this programme will focus on helping people in the greatest need, tackling climate change and ensuring financial stability of the council in the wake of the pandemic, which is estimated to have cost the council £18.5million (2020-2021).
Cllr Smith said: “It is a huge honour to be appointed Leader of the city council and I am grateful to all of the colleagues who have put their trust in me.
“I am absolutely focused on our priorities of making Cambridge a fairer city that is doing everything possible to address the climate change and biodiversity emergencies.
“The council provides services that make a real difference to people’s lives. Whether we are building new council homes, reducing our carbon emissions, enhancing our city’s biodiversity or forging strong, cooperative partnerships, we will always seek to put those who most need our help first.
“I look forward to building cooperative partnerships across the whole city, making sure that we listen to the voices of our whole community, including those who don’t always feel they have a voice.”
Cllr Smith said: “When I was growing up, my Dad got ME. He ended up on sickness benefits and was never able to go back to work again. Money was tight, and I know my parents made a lot of sacrifices for me. They were, they are, great parents, with so much wisdom and so much to offer.
“But what I will never forget is how my Dad was treated during those years. As if he had no agency, nothing to contribute, as if he was just a malingerer, a scrounger. That’s always stayed with me, and that’s why I want to make sure that as we grow partnerships in our city, we do it in cooperation with everyone, and that we make every effort to hear, and listen to, the voices of people who don’t feel valued or heard.
“There are challenges ahead – not least the financial impact of the pandemic. But I know that, working together in genuine partnership across our city, we will be able to rise to those challenges together.”
Cllr Smith succeeds Cllr Lewis Herbert who resigned as Leader after serving in the role for nearly 7½ years. Cllr Herbert will continue to represent Coleridge ward as a city councillor.
Cllr Smith added: “I want to pay tribute to Lewis and thank him for his dedication to our city and its residents. He has led the council with wisdom, commitment and inspiration, and we have so much to thank him for.”
Cllr Smith announced at the meeting that Cllr Alex Collis will be statutory Deputy Leader of the Council. Cllr Martin Smart will remain as non-statutory Deputy Leader of the Council.