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Council leader steps down after eight years in the hotseat

07 Mar 2024 4 minute read
Cllr Huw David Leader Credit: Bridgend Council

Lewis Smith, local democracy reporter

The leader of Bridgend Council, Huw David, has announced he will step down from the position after eight years.

The long-standing councillor, who has been the leader since 2016, has said he will remain in his 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 other national roles such as the Welsh Local Government Association’s presiding officer and official spokesperson for social care, however he will continue to serve as one of three elected Bridgend County Borough Council members representing the ward of Pyle, Kenfig Hill and Cefn Cribwr.

Cllr David, who has lived in Cefn Cribwr his whole life, was first elected as a local council member in 2004. 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.


Speaking after the announcement, Cllr 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.”

Mark Drakeford

First Minister Mark Drakeford also spoke on the announcement and 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 John Spanswick, cabinet member for climate change and environment in Bridgend, added: “I have to pay tribute to the leader, as he’s done a great job with what can be a very difficult role. He’s always brought everyone together as a team, particularly in getting us through the pandemic, and in setting the latest budget which was one of the most difficult we’ve ever seen.”

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