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Jack Brooke-Battersby
By Jack Brooke-Battersby

Senior Staff Writer

24 June 2020

| | 3 min read


Cabinet changes announced

Newcastle City Council Leader Nick Forbes has moved swiftly to reshuffle Cabinet to prepare for the next stage of the fight against coronavirus.

Newcastle Civic Centre
Newcastle Civic Centre

Cllr Irim Ali is promoted from the backbenches. She takes charge of the Neighbourhoods and Public Health portfolio while the current postholder Cllr John-Paul Stephenson becomes Cabinet member for Environment and Regulatory Services, replacing Cllr Nick Kemp who resigned on Sunday.

The new Cabinet member for Education and Skills is Paula Holland who takes over from Cllr Veronica Dunn.

Cllr Nick Forbes said: “I am delighted to welcome Irim and Paula to the Cabinet. They will bring fresh eyes and new energy to the team at what is a critical time for our city. Paula is a very experienced councillor who has played a key role on our scrutiny committee and Irim is a passionate councillor with strong relationships with our voluntary and community sector. I’d like to thank Nick Kemp and Veronica Dunn for their service and wish them both well for the future.

“My Cabinet is united and focused on the challenge ahead as the city emerges from the biggest crisis in living memory. The pandemic has had devastating social and economic consequences and it is vital we lead the city through it.

“Our recovery must be inclusive, tackle inequalities and have low carbon at its heart. We will work together as a team with council staff and partners across the city and wider region to protect our most vulnerable citizens, support the safe return of children to school in September and businesses from all sectors to trade in a COVID secure way as lockdown is eased.

“As Leader, I am proud of the way our great city has responded and continues to respond to this crisis. I will continue to fight for a fairer deal from Government and to work with colleagues in Public Health to ensure we have robust plans in place to deal with any second outbreak.

“We are a city renowned for our welcome, our friendliness, our grit, our determination and our ambition. Working together, united in our aims, will drive us to ensure a social and economic recovery benefits everyone who lives in, works in and visits Newcastle.”

In all, 10 members of the ruling Labour Group make up the Cabinet which consists of the Leader, Deputy Leader and eight Cabinet members. 

They are as follows: 

  • Leader Cllr Nick Forbes – leadership of the council ensuring the council is working towards its priorities 
  • Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Resources, Cllr Joyce McCarty - including equalities, financial inclusion, resources, performance, organisational change and improvement 
  • Cabinet Member for Employment and Culture, Cllr Ged Bell - including investment, jobs and development. This portfolio also covers culture, tourism and major events 
  • Cabinet Member for Education and Skills, Cllr Paula Holland - including children and young people, early years, schools, children’s social care and apprenticeships  
  • Cabinet Member for the Environment and Regulatory Services, Cllr  John-Paul Stephenson - including decent neighbourhood standards  
  • Cabinet Member for Health and Social Care, Cllr Karen Kilgour - including care of the elderly and disabled people, refugees and the Armed Forces Champion 
  • Cabinet Member for Housing, Cllr Linda Hobson – including council homes, tenants rights and homelessness support
  • Cabinet Member for Transport and Air Quality, Cllr Arlene Ainsley - including major transport schemes, highways, cycling and air quality 
  • Cabinet Member for Climate Change and Communities, Cllr Clare Penny-Evans - tasked with establishing a Climate Change convention. Portfolio also includes good community relations, tackling discrimination and celebrating diversity and community safety 
  • Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods and Public Health, Cllr Irim Ali - including community buildings, neighbourhood facilities, libraries and public health