CHT defends leadership
THE LEADER of the council made an impassioned speech defending her leadership.
Cllr Charlotte Haitham Taylor, who was celebrating her birthday during the council meeting, said: “Leadership is about standing by those difficult things, being on the side of what is just and fair, even when those who are bereft of courage will buckle at the first sign of difficulty.
“Presiding in judgment over those who choose to stand up and be counted, when you will [not] stick your own neck out – that is not bravery. We would not deserve to be leaders if I, or my Executive, or my Conservative group, were too afraid to do the right thing, even when it is the unpopular thing to do.”
She added that Cllr Pauline Jorgensen had been appointed as deputy leader of the group following the resignation of Cllr Julian McGhee-Sumner, who was absent from the meeting. There was no announcement as to who was going to be the member for finance, meaning the role has been vacant for a fortnight.
“Under my leadership, we have had the courage to challenge the Government over the unsustainable housing numbers being imposed on us.
“We have faced down the Secretary of State over negative Revenue Support Grant – the penalty for our residents’ voting for sound financial management.
“We have kept up pressure on the ministers over funding for children’s and adult social care.
“We have chosen to invest the largest sum of money ever into our communities over the next three years.
“We have pressed on with reshaping the council into an organisation fit for a digital age.
“We set up an investment strategy so people in Wokingham borough should never have to face the savage cuts thrust on the people of Reading.
“!We have fought to keep the fundamentals that truly matter to people, making sometimes hard decisions on some of the other things we’ve gotten used to councils doing.
“And in our council plan, we’ve embarked on the most ambitious programme ever to redefine the relationship between citizen and local government, giving a voice to communities in a way never done before.
“We need to take our residents on a journey to being part of one community. Along the way, we must get on the with the job of building sustainable services of a changing population and entering into a new spirit of being enterprising and entrepreneurial.
“The path may be strewn with obstacles and the destination may not always clearly be in sight.
“Whether it’s the town centre regeneration or our work to get in place a plan for sustainable housing for the future, sometimes among the pain it can be hard to see the fruits of what we are striving for.
“We may not get everything right along the way.
“We must seek to shake off the naysayers with a poverty of ambition as well as the false prophets, the siren voices who push us towards a ‘ new Eden’, straight over the edge into a pit.
“We must never be too timid to think big. If we will not dare to be bold, we need never fear failure, nor ever know the triumph of success.
“I believe that we have a vision worth fighting for and, while I am leader of this council, I will continue to do battle every single day to deliver it for the most important people of all, the residents of Wokingham borough.”