ROD CANTRILL, LIB DEM: Air pollution and Brexit are twin challenges
- Credit: Archant
The mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough will need more funding from the government to deal with issues facing the county.
That’s the message from Liberal Democrat candidate, Councillor Rod Cantrill, who hopes to take up the role next month.
“The amount of funding that the government has allocated to the mayor is not enough to address the big issues that are important to residents,” he said.
“As mayor, I will be a strong voice for the region to get national government to provide more funding to deliver on the key issues of jobs, housing and transport.
“It is important though, that money is spent properly on things that will make a difference to people’s lives in the long-term not on the short-term vanity projects of local politicians.”
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And since being on the campaign trail, Cllr Cantrill says he understands exactly where money needs to be allocated across the county.
“Residents have told me that the three big issues they face in their day-to-day lives are a decent job, good quality, truly affordable housing, and public transport that enables them to feel connected and not isolated.
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“In Cambridge and the surrounding area the priority is housing and transport, in Peterborough it is high-quality jobs and housing. In many rural areas it is jobs and transport.”
Cllr Cantrill, who currently sits on Cambridge City Council, says additional government funding is also important for the bigger picture, and protecting the county from Brexit.
“I believe the region faces two once-in-a-lifetime challenges of Brexit and climate change,” he said.
“As mayor I will be a strong voice for the area on these key issues ensuring that we receive additional funding from the government to protect us from the impact of Brexit and a strong voice on pursuing policies to address such issues as air pollution.”
Keen to tackle air pollution, Cllr Cantrill hopes to encourage sustainable solutions such as electric cars, public transport, and cycling.
He also says he wants a ‘focus’ on rail in the county, and that a transport plan needs to be drawn up. But as well as looking at how people move around Cambridgeshire, Cllr Cantrill is interested in changing how it is governed too.
“The devolution structure that has been created is a complex one with numerous councils sitting under the combined authority and the mayor,” he said.
“There is a big opportunity to make things simpler by bringing together some of the councils in the south of the region – to create a structure similar to the one we have in Peterborough.”
He added: “I’ll change the way that politics works across our region, I will be a listening mayor who will properly engage with and listen to residents.
“I have real life business and finance experience which gives me the skills and knowledge needed to deliver the large scale infrastructure projects our region needs.
“Electing me will send a strong message to Mrs May that the government can’t have a Brexit at any cost. My election and my mayoralty will help businesses across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough to get a better deal regardless of what happens with Brexit.”
Cllr Cantrill joined the Liberal Democrats in 2003 after becoming involved with a community issue in his hometown of Newnham, in Cambridge.
“I believe that devolution is potentially a huge opportunity for our area. Done right it could improve the lives of residents across the region, done wrong it will be a massive waste of tax payers’ money,” he said.
“As a city councillor I have seen how badly the Conservatives and Labour have handled the Greater Cambridge City Deal - wasting our money and trying to force pet projects on residents.”
The new mayor will be responsible for £600 million when they are elected – that’s £20 million a year for 30 years – as well as a £170 million grant for affordable housing.
As well as transport and a housing plan, Cllr Cantrill also hopes to reinvigorate skills and training programmes and fight for a better devolution deal to give people a bigger say.
“I am excited by the opportunity to be the first mayor of the region and to be the person representing the many different voices,” he added.
“I set up and run my own business, I understand risk, I understand motivation, I understand putting my heart and soul in to something.
“As mayor I would look to provide a vision for the region not just for the next four years, but for the next 40 years.”