EXPERIENCED councillor David Sheard has been appointed as the new deputy leader of Kirklees Council.

Clr Sheard – a long-serving member for Heckmondwike – is taking over the role vacated by Clr Ken Smith, who stepped down from Cabinet last month.

A new member of Cabinet has also been confirmed, with Clr Cathy Scott of Dewsbury East, joining the council’s executive decision-making body.

She is a well-known member of her community as she sits on local committees, works at Chickenley Community Centre and has strong links with grass roots issues around Dewsbury.

Clr Scott said: “I’m looking forward to joining Cabinet at a time when cutbacks by central government have made life so challenging for local authorities.

“In Kirklees we are doing everything possible to balance the need to make savings against our commitment to providing effective, value-for-money services for local people.”

The new deputy leader, Clr Sheard, added: “Naturally I am pleased and honoured to be taking on such an important role.

“There is no escaping the fact that all councils must face up to harsh economic realities. Councils in the north have been hit particularly hard.

“There are difficult decisions to be made, but here in Kirklees our aim is to continue leading the way with strong, clear leadership.”

As part of the changes to the nine-strong Cabinet, Clrs Molly Walton and Peter McBride are taking on wider policy and leadership support roles in addition to their portfolios.

The line-up of the Cabinet is now:

Clr Mehboob Khan (Leader); Clr David Sheard (Deputy Leader); Clr Shabir Pandor (Resources); Clr Cathy Scott (Resources); Clr Cath Harris (Children’s Services); Clr Peter O’Neill (Children’s Services); Clr Molly Walton (Health, Wellbeing and Communities, and with special responsibility for policy direction and leadership support); Clr Jean Calvert (Health, Well-being and Communities); Clr Peter McBride (Investment and Housing, and with special responsibility for policy direction and leadership support).