Labour Party opinion: 'It's vital we work together for our city,' writes councillor Shaz Nawaz

Labour group leader on Peterborough City Council, Shaz Nawaz, gives an opposing view in his latest column.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 20th May 2022, 2:52 pm

The overall number of opposition councillors on Peterborough Council outnumbers the Conservatives.

However, as they are from four different parties, with one party having four Independent councillors, it was difficult to reach a position where we can form an administration based on a long-term commitment. There were too many variables, which meant there was a high risk of a new administration being short lived.

For that reason, it made sense not to proceed with a new administration until we have a bigger mandate. I want to thank all opposition councillors for being open and honest. We had good discussions and we now have a platform to work together on the values and vision we share for Peterborough.

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Peterborough Celebrates at Ferry Meadows. Crowds at the event

What is important is that Peterborough City Council works towards becoming financially stable and sustainable. This means changing the way the council operates alongside changing the governance and decision-making process.

Our city simply cannot afford a continuation of the failures of previous years and, as opposition councillors, this is what we will continue to fight for.

I believe we get better value for money when services are delivered in-house. Alongside this, the focus should be on delivering services which are core to what we should be doing. The moment we stray down a path which is not in line with our objectives, we take the risk of losing money, diluting our focus, and cause undue stress and pressure to the system. This is partly why we are facing a huge financial challenge now. The Labour Group will push for more services to be brought in-house so that the taxpayer gets better value for money alongside a more efficient service.

Last week I attended the Peterborough Celebrates Festival organised by the Nene Park Trust, who I want to commend for bringing so many communities together. Post-Covid, we need more events like this where communities can spend time together and can focus on common objectives.

I am pleased to be re-elected Labour Group leader. I am also pleased that Cllr Amjad Iqbal was elected as deputy leader. I am confident he will help our group move forward in line with our vision.

The council faces many challenges and having an effective opposition is as important as it has ever been. With the numbers so evenly balanced, it is vital that opposition groups work together to ensure residents get the best deal possible. What is encouraging is that opposition groups have a shared enthusiasm to put Peterborough first and to make sure decisions benefit residents. This is what we have been elected to do and I assure you, most councillors across the board want to do the best for residents.

I am certain the opposition groups will be even more collaborative and effective at holding the minority Conservative administration to account while they remain in power for another year. This means every decision they make will be scrutinised in detail and that every failure to deliver what they promised will be challenged.

To help with this, the council is reviewing governance procedures to make sure decision-making is more transparent and robust. I look forward to working with opposition councillors because I know by working together, we can do better for Peterborough.