I AM seeking re-election in the forthcoming mayoral election on Thursday, May 2.

I intend to run a positive campaign and my plan for the next four years is to build on the strong platform that is now in place at the council, and to ensure Copeland continues to make good progress.

Since I was elected in 2015, my term in office has presented some real challenges; some were expected, others were not.

They have all been dealt with head-on, and we have not flinched from some tough decisions.

There has been the continued decline in government funding; the need to fill a £13million black hole in the finances; and a devastating cyber attack. This is in addition to the long overdue complete restructure of the council that led to the departure of highly paid interims and consultants; all staff roles are now filled by employees of the council.

Copeland Borough Council has emerged in a far better position than it was in back in 2015.

The next four years are about what we are going to do, rather than what we have needed to fix.

Four years ago, the borough was crying out for change. We have now laid a strong foundation and I am now very excited about Copeland’s future.

Over the coming weeks, I will be articulating the exciting plans to transform Copeland for better and build on the significant achievements of the last four years.

In 2015, I pledged that I am committed to putting the interests of the people of Copeland before petty party politics and personal interests. Four years on, I believe that more strongly than ever.

The council is now being run like a modern 21st century business. It operates within its budget, improving the services it delivers while, at the same time, lessening the burden on taxpayers by pegging council tax, fees and charges below the rate of inflation.

The Copeland Pride of Place initiative, which is a catalyst for town centre regeneration, has been hugely successful with many buildings improved. The take-up in Millom has been particularly high.

When I was elected, I committed to being an open Mayor, with an ‘open door’ policy to my office. I’ve met with hundreds of residents and held dozens of public meetings, not least in Millom last week where we had a good turnout of engaged and passionate residents.