"The recent Budget Statement has continued to short change councils like Cambridge City on the money we need now to tackle the epidemic over the winter."
What’s your background, Mike?
Well, I’m originally from Edinburgh but I’ve lived and worked most of my life south of the border. I tried a few jobs after leaving school but eventually became a probation officer, working mainly in Sunderland – and yes, I’m a Sunderland supporter! I moved to East Anglia in the 1990s and have worked in Cambridge for over 20 years now. We’ve lived in the city since 2009 and although my oldest two boys have now left home I still have a daughter in Year 8 at Parkside, after many happy years at St. Matthews.
I first joined the Labour Party in 1980 and, once I left my job at the County Council in 2013 I was really pleased that I could get more politically active again.
You’ve been involved in communities in Cambridge for a while now, haven’t you?
Absolutely! I worked with Abbey People, which is a fantastic community organisation until last year and was Chair of Governors at the Galfrid, back when it was still Abbey Meadows. I also spent five years on the board of Centre 33, who do great work with young people locally – they’ve got an excellent young carers programme for example and I used to run Connexions.
I think that’s our most important responsibility as councillors – to deliver excellent services for the communities we serve.
What made you want to become a councillor?
My politics are really rooted in the kind of work I’ve always done, focusing on communities. Being a councillor is really an extension of that – it’s all about working with people. I was really proud to be elected to represent Petersfield in 2019, and to be able to represent a ward I’ve known well for many years. That’s my main priority – to be a really good ward councillor.
And you recently took over from your ward colleague Richard Robertson as Finance Exec, didn’t you?
I did – and those are quite some shoes to fill. It’s a huge responsibility, especially at such a critical time for our city, and a challenging and demanding role. The Chancellor’s recent announcement about the Spending Review hasn’t done much for local authorities, I’m afraid. They are continuing to short change councils, and have only refunded less than half the £11 billion deficit created by the extra spending essential to keep residents safe. Not only do we have the impact of COVID, but also Brexit waiting in the wings, so main aim for the months ahead will be to work with our key partners to keep the Council financially stable at a time of increased uncertainty.