LEEDS City Council leader Keith Wakefield has described his role as “the best job in the country” as he confirmed he is to step down.
Coun Wakefield told the YEP Leeds has “huge potential” but after being leader of the city’s Labour group for 12 years and having led the council for the last five years it was time to give someone else the opportunity.
“It’s been a huge privelege and honour to be leader of the city. It is a fantastic place so I’ve had the best job in the country, I think, being leader of Leeds,” he said.
“I’ve been fortunate to be part of some of the huge successes that the city has had, Trinity Leeds, the Grand Depart and the economic success we’ve had.”
Coun Wakefield said he was particularly proud of the authority’s efforts to tackle poverty under his leadership, reducing the number of young people not in education or training and its recent decision to adopt the living wage for council workers.
“Despite the financial challenges, we’ve managed to do something for low paid workers, public service workers who work in the most important area of peoples’ lives,” he said.
He also paid tribute to the hard work and creativity of council staff during the last five years when cuts in Government funding of around £248 million have forced the authority to shed hundreds of jobs and radically change the way it works.
Coun Wakefield will continue to represent Kippax on the council and is also expecting to spend more time focusing on transport issues as well as pushing for Leeds and its West Yorkshire neighbours to secure money and powers from the Government to run their own affairs.