Four more years...or maybe just the one

Coun Eileen Blamire, leader of Lancaster City Council, and the People Power website.
Coun Eileen Blamire, leader of Lancaster City Council, and the People Power website.

Should the leader of Lancaster City Council serve a four-year or a one-year term?

This question was looked at yesterday by councillors.

The current leader, Eileen Blamire of the Labour group, was elected to the position in 2011.

Since then, the Localism Act has removed a legal requirement for local authorities to elect a leader on a four-year basis.

Prior to a change in the law in 2007, the council always elected its leader annually.

Talks were held on the issue at a meeting of full council on Wednesday afternoon.

A decision has been delayed until after the upcoming local elections.

Also at yesterday’s meeting, Councillor Blamire presented her annual report to council.

She said: “I feel that the last four years have been a time of unprecedented austerity. Local Government has taken huge cuts in income and the future looks even less rosy.

“In spite of this, I feel that the council has weathered the loss in income amazingly 

“However, having to use £1m of our reserves to balance the budget for the first time does not bode well. We cannot carry on like this.

“Our staff have been amazing. Losing around 20% over the four years means thatthose remaining have had to achieve even more. I thank them all for their hard work.

“Senior officers have achieved savings all year round and our services have been delivered, maybe not as quickly, but nevertheless we have not removed any services completely, nor closed down any of our buildings that provide the public with so much more than just bin emptying and street sweeping.”

Also at the meeting, the mayor, Conservative Councillor Susie Charles, delivered her annual report.

She said: “Throughout the year I have been warmly received without exception by all as I have carried out my duties both within the district and further afield.

“I have had a tremendous year, visited places and met people that I would never have done otherwise. Memories to cherish forever.”