Rutland County Council leader hopes to put politics aside
The leader of Rutland County Council believes all those elected last week now need to work together for the good of the county.
Roger Begy was one of 17 Conservatives to win seats on the 26-seat council in Thursday’s elections, although he stood uncontested in the Greetham ward.
The remainder of the seats were taken by the Liberal Democrats, who won two, and seven independent councillors. Only two candidates stood representing Labour and were not elected.
Coun Begy was pleased to see so many members of his Conservative group win seats. But he is keen to see a cross-party council work together over the coming month.
“I hope we can be as inclusive of all our councillors as possible so that we can drive forward for Rutland,” he said.
“Its not a party thing; it’s a Rutland thing.”
The council has faced considerable challenges since the previous election in 2010. It has had to contend with a continual decline in Government funding while striving to maintain frontline services.
Councillors have voted to freeze tax rates for five years running, using reserves to make up gaps in funding.
Coun Begy said there were more challenges to come. He added: “We have to continue to manage the budget against cuts on the one hand and demand on the other.
“There are key challenges in adult social care and health. We have already made a commitment in terms of increasing school places and we have got to see a new primary school built in Oakham in the next year. We are doing a full review of transport.”
Coun Begy said he was pleased the public had supported the Tories, adding: “It is gratifying to receive that support but at the end of the day the key thing is action and making things happen, getting things done.”
Councillors will meet on Monday, June 1, to elect a chairman, leader and key positions for the new administration.
One of the first decisions facing them will be whether to accept Leicestershire Fire and Rescue’s proposal to use £150,000 of council funds to trial a rapid response scheme in Rutland.
The service’s governing body decided to scrap Oakham’s on-call fire engine in April. The council had offered £75,000 for two years to keep the engine running, but the decision was made to axe the 10 retained crew who man the town’s second engine.
Instead the service voted to use the money to trial a rapid response service. Councillors will now have to decide whether that meets the terms of the original offer.