New leader for Calderdale Council as Tim Swift announces he is stepping down

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Calderdale Council is getting a new leader.

Councillor Tim Swift, who has been leader of the council since 2012, is stepping down from the post.

Councillor Jane Scullion, who is currently deputy leader, will become leader after the annual council meeting on May 17.

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Councillor Swift, who kept his seat on the council after last week’s elections, is set to be appointed as deputy leader.

Councillor Jane ScullionCouncillor Jane Scullion
Councillor Jane Scullion

“When I first became leader of the Labour group in 2007 we were the third party with just nine councillors,” he said.

"I always believed that we would rebuild to lead the council but I could never have predicted the extraordinary journey that would follow.

“Looking back, it is amazing to reflect that we have now secured the ninth consecutive year of unbroken Labour leadership of the council – and the fifth with an overall majority. The recent election results show the people of Calderdale support our vision for the future.

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“We have delivered on our Labour priorities. We were the first West Yorkshire council to become a Living Wage employer, one of the first councils in the country to introduce broad urban 20mph speed limits, and have been at the forefront of tackling the climate emergency.

Councillor Tim SwiftCouncillor Tim Swift
Councillor Tim Swift

"We have secured huge investments including transforming The Piece Hall and we recognised the importance of town partnerships long before the Government.

"We have achieved all of this whilst leading our borough through a global pandemic, three massive and devastating floods and now the worst cost of living crisis for a generation.

“Knowing when to make a change is always one of the hardest things to do; but I have decided now is the right time for me to stand down. I remain completely committed to our great borough, and look forward to supporting Jane in her new role as leader.”

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Councillor Scullion has been deputy leader of the council for four years and held several cabinet roles including Resources and most recently Regeneration.

She became a councillor in 2016, following a long career in local government.

She said: “We look to the future with an ambitious and clear Labour vision for Calderdale, building on our existing priorities of tackling inequalities and climate change and promoting thriving towns.

“In pursuing these important goals I am delighted that Tim will remain as deputy leader, providing invaluable experience and continuity for the coming year.”

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Labour is the ruling group on Calderdale Council, having retained 10 seats at the local elections last week.

They currently hold 28 seats on the council, five more than all the other political parties combined.

Councillor Swift was awarded an MBE in 2018 in recognition of his contribution to local government and the regeneration of Halifax.