Today marks the first one hundred days of the new Conservative administration on Essex County Council led by Councillor Kevin Bentley, with Councillor Louise McKinlay as Deputy Leader.
Essex County Council met for the first time today since the local elections, which saw the Conservatives retain a strong majority on the Council.
In his first speech as the newly elected Leader, Councillor Kevin Bentley, laid out the administration’s vision for the County which will be guided by the core principles of ‘Renewal, Equality and Ambition.’ He stressed that these three words are far more than just a slogan and will be at the heart of all that the Council does moving forward.
Councillor Bentley spoke of his “huge sense of pride” at becoming the Leader of “one of the greatest county councils in the country.” He reflected on what had been achieved under the Leadership of David Finch, who successfully drove productivity in good times and bad. Cllr Bentley noted that the excellent record of his predecessor had laid strong foundations, enabling the new administration to “dream big” in its vision for the future.
Speaking to Full Council, the Leader emphasised the importance of ‘renewal’ as the County works towards Covid-recovery. A key priority will be working to renew the local economy and to support Essex Business to thrive. It was announced that a new centre of excellence for ‘the Green economy and Care’ will be established.
The County Council will renew relationships with partners to build skills and opportunities. The Leader stated, “to renew our economy our door must remain firmly open to our businesses and communities across all sectors.”
It was underlined that the Council would work to deliver equality for all by giving people the tools they need to succeed in life regardless of their background. The new administration is committed to working to deliver equality for hard-working families and individuals. The Council will work to ‘level-up’ with equality in health and education.
Ambition will be the driver of success, as the Council enters a new era, and works to become even more modern and innovative. There will be a “fresh approach” to Libraries, ensuring they remain at the heart of our communities and become a hub for people to “learn, read and relax.” Whilst the authority will use technology to “improve and enhance our County’s infrastructure.”
There will be an ambitious agenda to improve and protect our environment with attainable climate targets, which will be overseen by the Council’s new Climate Change Czar, Councillor Peter Schwier.
The next one hundred days will kick start an exciting new era for Essex, as we move out of the pandemic, the Conservative-led Council will set the path for renewal, equality, and ambition for the County.