Getting people to work together for the good of the city will be a focus for the new council leader.
Cllr Daniel Yates, who was elected unopposed as Labour leader following the resignation of Warren Morgan, was expected to take the helm of the local authority at the Annual Council meeting last night (Thursday).
He said his top priority was creating more housing in the city for the homeless, people in emergency accommodation, students and for older people who need more support.
“We have to address the fact we have not got enough accommodation in the city,” he said.
On why he decided to stand for leader in the run-up to the 2019 council elections, Cllr Yates – who represents Moulsecoomb and Bevendean – said ‘it’s an exciting opportunity to contribute to the city’s future’.
“I am not a career politician,” said Cllr Yates, an NHS physiotherapist. “But at the time, as one of the 22 Labour councillors, I thought actually I could do this.”
He said his pragmatism and ability to bring people together make him right for the job.
On splits within the Labour Party, he said all members were ‘committed to delivering a Labour agenda for the city’.
He pointed to the last general election, citing Labour’s majorities in Hove (18,000) and Kemptown (10,000), and said: “It means we know what we can do when we all work together.”
Cllr Yates urged the Greens and Conservatives to ‘work with us on with the great number of areas where we share a joint vision for the city’.
“It does not help anyone in the city to argue about stuff,” he said. “Working with residents and businesses, charities and the voluntary sector, when we work together we deliver better outcomes than we do alone.”
Cllr Yates said he wants the local authority to ‘recognise that we can’t be perfect all the time, especially in these difficult times of funding.’
“We need to be honest about the challenges we face.”
He added that listening residents was key.
“Whether it’s the basics like the bin collections the rubbish on the seafront, if we listen to them and learn from them, we can always do better,” he said.