Burnley Council leader steps down to focus on parliamentary campaign

The leader of Burnley Borough Council, Julie Cooper, is to step down to focus on her parliamentary election campaign.

Coun. Cooper, who has led Burnley Council since Labour regained control in May 2012, is her party’s candidate for the expected 2015 General Election.

Coun. Julie Cooper

Coun. Julie Cooper

She reflected on the highs and lows of her two years in charge which saw Burnley named Most Enterprising Area in the UK, but has also seen job cuts at Burnley Council.

Coun. Cooper said: “It has been a privilege to lead Burnley Council and I have had two very busy and challenging years.

“I have been especially proud to lead an impressive programme of economic regeneration and job creation throughout the borough, which culminated in us gaining recognition as the most enterprising town in Britain.”

Coun. Cooper said her other proudest moment was the introduction of the Living Wage to all council staff.

She added: “I can look every council employee in the eye and know they are being paid a fair rate. My hope is that more employers across the borough will introduce the Living Wage.

“One of my biggest regrets is not having been leader in better times. The redundancies we have had to make have been heartbreaking, but there has been no alternative. We have had to cope with the biggest budget cuts in the history of the town.”

Coun. Cooper will continue as leader until the local elections on May 22nd, and on May 25th the Burnley Labour group will elect a new leader.

She added: “I will continue as a ward councillor for Bank Hall, which means I will have more time to spend there.

“Ultimately, though, I will be able to see more people across the borough and hear what they want from an MP. The people of Burnley and Padiham deserve a Labour MP and I owe it to them to achieve that.”