Coronavirus, council finances and London’s social and economic recovery are the three top priorities of London Councils’ new Chair, Cllr Georgia Gould.
Cllr Gould, Leader of Camden Council and previously Deputy Chair of London Councils, was formally elected as Chair at London Councils’ Leaders’ Committee Annual General Meeting yesterday (Tuesday 13 October).
Cllr Gould said:
“I’m really pleased to have been elected Chair of London Councils today. A huge thanks to Cllr Peter John, our former Chair, for his leadership, determination and tireless energy, he leaves a huge legacy for Southwark and London.
“I can’t think of a time when local leadership has been more important in the capital. With London’s coronavirus rates rising and the economic and social impact of the pandemic affecting so many Londoners, it’s vital that London boroughs pull together to protect and support our communities and struggling businesses, and make our voices heard at a regional and national level.
“With London boroughs collectively facing a funding gap of up to £1 billion this year alone due to our unprecedented coronavirus response and existing budget pressures, ensuring councils have the financial resources and stability to support communities through this challenging period is critical.
“Even as we take action to deal with the pandemic, as Leaders we must also look to London’s future. The pandemic has starkly exposed the deep inequalities in our communities, and to truly recover from it, we need to build a fairer society and economy, and a more sustainable and caring city. There is no challenge London faces that is beyond the creativity and capacity of Londoners to fix, and as Chair, I will be proud to work alongside Leaders and the Mayor to harness our shared energy to build back better in the months and years to come.”
Cllr Darren Rodwell, Leader of Barking and Dagenham Council, was elected Deputy Chair of London Councils. He remains Executive member for Housing and Planning.
Cllr Sir Ray Puddifoot MBE, Leader of Hillingdon Council, stood down from London Councils’ Executive, where he has served as Executive member for Health and Care since 2014.
The Leader of Havering Council, Cllr Damian White, was elected to the role of Executive member for Health and Care.
Cllr Clare Coghill, Leader of Waltham Forest Council, was elected Executive member for Skills and Employment. She was previously Executive member for Business, Europe and Good Growth.
Cllr Danny Thorpe, Leader of the Royal Borough of Greenwich, was elected Executive member for Business, Europe and Good Growth. He was previously Executive member for Crime and Public Protection.
Cllr Jas Athwal, Leader of Redbridge Council, was elected Executive member for Crime and Public Protection.
Mayor Philip Glanville, Hackney Council, was elected Chair of London Councils' Transport and Environment Committee.
Notes to editors:
1. Cllr Peter John OBE stood down as Chair yesterday. He was elected as Chair of London Councils in June 2018. He is the former Leader of Southwark Council.
2. Georgia Gould was elected a Labour councillor on Camden Council in 2010 at the age of 24, becoming its Leader in 2017. Before becoming Leader she held Cabinet roles focusing on young people and youth services, adult social care and creating an inclusive local economy.
She was appointed to London Councils' Executive in 2018 and in 2019 she was elected Deputy Chair and Executive member for Employment and Skills. Over the last few months, she has been co-chairing London's economic recovery work on behalf of London's Recovery Board.
Cllr Gould is the Labour Councillor for Kentish Town Ward where she grew up and attended her local comprehensive school, Camden School For Girls. Georgia studied History and Politics at Oxford and graduated with a master's degree in global politics from the London School of Economics.
Georgia has a special interest in the politics and experiences of young people and published a book, Wasted: How Misunderstanding Young Britain Threatens Our Future, based on two years spent interviewing young Britons.
Outside of her Council work Georgia is an avid QPR fan.