It’s business as usual as Tories keep power

NEW TERM Donna Jones addresses the council at the mayor-making ceremony  ''''          (150519-0123)
NEW TERM Donna Jones addresses the council at the mayor-making ceremony '''' (150519-0123)

£4m cuts to be made in city budget

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THE Tories remain in charge of Portsmouth City Council after no challenge was made to their position.

Conservative councillor Donna Jones continues as the authority’s leader after first being appointed last summer.

The Tories have 18 out of the 42 seats on the council, which means they do not hold a majority.

But none of the council’s other parties challenged their leadership at yesterday’s meeting of all members – meaning things remain the same.

Cllr Jones has made one change to her cabinet – Cllr Luke Stubbs will now be responsible for health and social care as Cllr Frank Jonas, who formerly took up the role, is the new lord mayor.

Cllr Stubbs will also continue to be in charge of planning, regeneration and economic development. But he will only take one allowance given to cabinet members – around £7,200 a year – and take up his new position at no extra pay.

That is because the Tory administration wants to use the extra money to keep scrutiny panels on the council which oversee complaints and decisions.

Cllr Jones said: ‘When I became leader of the council, I was elected for four years and I have gone unchallenged.

‘Although we don’t hold a majority, we are the largest party. A lot of people put their confidence in the Conservatives.

‘Our vote share has grown by around 25 per cent across the whole city.’

Cllr Stubbs warned their would be tough times ahead as the authority looks to address how to balance the council’s health budget.

‘There are a lot of cost pressures in adult social care,’ he said.

‘We are going to have to look very closely at how we deliver social care and look again at our relationship with the voluntary sector, and see how we deliver as many services as possible at the lowest cost.’

He added there would need to be better working with the NHS to provide services.

The Lib Dems hold 15 seats, Labour and Ukip have four each and there is one independent – Cllr Paul Godier – who quit Ukip earlier this year.