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Leader of Bridgend County Borough Council to step down

After eight years at the helm of the local authority, Councillor Huw David OBE has confirmed that he intends to step down from his position as Leader of Bridgend County Borough Council.

Councillor David will remain in the post until a new leader is elected as part of the annual meeting of Council, which will be held on Wednesday 15 May 2024.

He will also step down from national roles such as the Welsh Local Government Association’s presiding officer and official spokesperson for social care.

 

At the same time, Councillor David will continue to serve as one of three elected Bridgend County Borough Council members representing the ward of Pyle, Kenfig Hill and Cefn Cribwr.

A life-long resident of Cefn Cribwr, Councillor David became the community’s local member on Bridgend County Borough Council in 2004. He served as a backbencher until he was re-elected in 2008, and was selected to become the council’s Cabinet Member for Resources.

In 2012 he changed portfolios, taking on the role of Cabinet Member for Children, and in 2015 he was appointed Deputy Leader of the authority. At 39, he became one of the youngest council Leaders in Wales when he was voted into the position at Bridgend County Borough Council in 2016.

 

Councillor David said: “Serving the communities that I love as Leader of Bridgend County Borough Council has been the honour of my life. I remain hugely passionate about the important part that local councils play in our everyday lives, but I have given this position everything I have, and the time is now right for me to stand aside and let someone else bring a different energy and perspective to the role.

“I have decided to announce my decision to step down as Leader now so that colleagues can plan ahead, and consider who they want in place to help lead the authority through whatever new challenges the future may hold. Whoever is elected Leader will, of course, have my full support.

“When I first took on this role, we were already several years into the national austerity measures imposed by UK Government, and were looking at how we could continue to provide more than 800 different types of council service using increasingly reduced resources.

“So much has happened in the eight years since that moment. The most difficult part has been leading the authority through the Covid 19 global pandemic, but we have also experienced further hugely significant events whose impact we are still dealing with – the fallout of Brexit, the loss of major employers such as Bridgend Ford, the ongoing cost of living crisis and more.

“To say that I am incredibly proud of how this council has never once backed away from its responsibilities and has continued to provide essential services, especially during the pandemic, is an understatement. I truly believe that local authorities form an essential part of civilised society, and make a huge difference to the lives of local people.

“I want to pay tribute to the skills, knowledge and resilience of my Cabinet colleagues and fellow members, and to the full support of the council’s experienced senior management team. I also want to acknowledge the huge contribution from all of the staff who form the core of the authority, and who have ensured that each time a fresh challenge has presented itself, we have been able to meet it head-on together.

“As Leader, it has been an honour to represent and advocate for the best interests of all the communities of the Bridgend County Borough, a place I am very proud to call home. I can assure local residents that I will continue to represent them, and will champion the interests of all our communities.”

 

Commenting on Councillor David’s decision, First Minister Mark Drakeford said: “I have known Huw over many years, and his dedication to the people of Bridgend County Borough has been apparent throughout.

“His work on the all-Wales stage has been very widely respected and reflects his warmth, his ability to work with people across geographic and political boundaries, and the passion he brings to improve the lives of those who need help the most.

“Through the pandemic and more recently the cost of living crisis, he has served diligently to protect communities from their impacts in desperately difficult times. I wish Huw all the very best for the future.”

 

Councillor Andrew Morgan OBE, Leader of the Welsh Local Government Association and Leader of RCT Council, added: “Over many years, Councillor Huw David has made a significant contribution to the work of local government and is well respected by all his peers across Wales, as well as many partner bodies.

“As spokesperson for health and social care, Huw has consistently shown his passion for protecting vulnerable people and ensuring access to care for those who need it. At no time was this more evident than during the Covid pandemic, as Huw took every opportunity to make the case for local services and the wellbeing of care workers.

“Huw’s disarmingly affable approach has been a key feature during his time as the WLGA’s Presiding Officer which has earned colleagues’ trust from all parts of Wales and across the UK. Throughout this time, he has shown true leadership and dedication in advocating for local government. His tireless work for local services at a national level is only matched by his great contribution to and pride in his community in Bridgend.

“Despite today’s news, I am confident that Councillor David will continue his tireless work in his community.

“On behalf of leaders across Wales and WLGA staff, I sincerely thank Huw for his contribution to local government spanning many years, and as a friend and a colleague, I wish him all the very best for the future.”

 

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