Opinion: Labour leader councillor Shaz Nawaz talks social housing and helping the elderly in his latest column

Peterborough City Councillor Labour leader Shaz Nawaz gives an opposing view

By The Newsroom
Friday, 27th May 2022, 12:10 pm

It’s pleasing to give them the recognition they deserve.

Firstly, thank you to Cllrs Lane (outgoing Mayor) and Jamil (outgoing Deputy Mayor).

I extend a special thank you to their spouses, Margaret Lane and Sughra Jamil, for supporting and assisting both office-bearers.

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Peterborough City Councillor Labour leader Shaz Nawaz pictured at Full Council on 23 May (image: David Lowndes)

Steve Lane, ably assisted by Jamil, a friend and colleague, has represented the city with gravitas and dignity; skills that are often lacking in some politicians.

The phrase ‘firmly, but fairly’ was used more than once in the chamber on Monday night as they stood down to make way for the new incumbents, Cllrs Dowson and Sandford.

Both Alan and Nick need no introduction to anyone in the chamber, having given many years to their respective parties and constituents in their wards and the wider community.

I know Alan has ambitious plans for helping the elderly and vulnerable, and my Labour group colleagues and I are really looking forward to supporting him.

Mayor of Peterborough Steve Lane with Deputy Mayoress Sughra Jamil at the mayor making 2021 at the East of England Arena .

One major change most councillors saw through was, for the first time, that members of the opposition will take all the regulatory and scrutiny chair positions. This echoes how Parliament works.

You will see good people taking on roles they will aspire and grow into, rather than any sense of ‘jobs for the boys’ as has often previously been the case. Let us welcome and support them whatever your political hue. We are all here to serve the people of Peterborough and they will value all our support.

We have major challenges facing us as a city. There is a continuing and growing need for more affordable social housing. I am encouraged that council leader, Wayne Fitzgerald, is willing to talk about Peterborough getting a Housing Revenue Account. This will be a step in the right direction.

Another major step giving hope for collegiate working was the unanimous passing of the motion to look at the circumstances leading to the badly executed and communicated ‘mothballing’ of the St George’s hydrotherapy pool.

Full council finished earlier than expected and in better humour on Monday evening. I suspect, certainly hope that, whilst there is a long way to go, those newly-elected and those who are already in situ, recognise that far from being the ‘coalition of chaos’ that was nothing more than a political scare tactic during election time, we are starting to demonstrate that working together is far more productive than pulling apart.

We will fall out. We will disagree. That is what human beings do.

But we are all elected to represent the people of our fine city with its proud industrial heritage and the fact that we want to create new opportunities for growth and wealth augurs well, irrespective of the party we are elected to represent.