The new leader of Wigan Council has spoken of his pride at taking on the role and set out his key priorities after being unanimously voted into the post.
Councillor David Molyneux, who has been the council’s deputy leader since 2008, was last night voted in as council leader by his fellow Labour Party councillors. The appointment will be formally made at Wigan Council’s full council meeting next Wednesday (23rd May)
In outlining his priorities the 64-year-old former engineer spoke of his passion for creating opportunities for young people in the borough as well as meeting the challenges of reduced funding for the council and the need to continue to grow the local economy.
Cllr Molyneux, who was first elected to the council representing the Ince ward in 1982, also pledged to create a “listening leadership” where views from all sides will be heard and praised the work of his predecessor Lord Peter Smith who stepped down after serving 27 years as leader.
He said: ““I am incredibly proud to have been chosen as leader of Wigan Council
“I have a big responsibility to carry on the great work that Peter has done and the huge progress that has been made under his leadership.”
Cllr Molyneux outlined his commitment to the young people of the borough.
“One of my top priorities is to give the young people of the borough the very best opportunities we can,” he said.
“This will begin from early years in our Start Well centres, through one of the very best education systems in the North West into creating good employment opportunities right here in the borough.”
However, Cllr Molyneux said the council faced huge challenges in the up-coming years with all councils set to become self-financing by 2020.
Cllr Molyneux said: “Central government funding will end by 2020.
“Some difficult decisions will have to be made on finding alternative funding so we can carry on providing high quality council services. This includes providing social care for an aging population.”
Cllr Molyneux underlined his commitment to using The Wigan Deal approach to deliver services in partnership with residents and basing services in the heart of communities.
As well as serving as deputy leader and cabinet member for economy and regeneration he is a non-executive director for Manchester Airport Group, Leigh Sports Village and Wigan Development Company and sits on the Planning and Housing Commission.
He has been a long-term advocate of the potential of the borough for further economic growth and that will continue under his leadership.
He said: “On the economy we will continue to deliver the progress that we have made over recent years and take even more advantage of Wigan’s location as a great place to be based to do business.
“In our role in Greater Manchester we are not there to just make up the numbers but to make a real difference to improving the city region.”
And Cllr Molyneux said he would listen to all councillors if they had views which could help the borough.
“I am open to listening to people. We are a team in Wigan. Whoever is elected we want them to feel part of the team.
“If people have ideas that they think can make a difference and make Wigan Borough a better place then I want to hear them.
“I want my leadership to be a listening one so we can hear all views and do what is in the best interest of the whole borough.”
Councillor Keith Cunliffe was appointed as the new deputy leader of the council and Cllr Molyneux retained all existing cabinet members in post with one new appointment to be made.