New gender balanced cabinet ‘gold standard’ says Midlothian Council leader

Midlothian Council’s new leader has called its gender-balanced top appointments a ‘Gold Standard’ for future local and national governments as she pledged the new administration’s commitment to equality.

By Marie Sharp, LDR
Thursday, 9th June 2022, 2:51 pm

Councillor Kelly Parry was appointed leader of the SNP minority administration following her party’s success at the local elections last month.

And after confirming fellow SNP councillor Debbi McCall as Midlothian’s new Provost, the first meeting of the new cabinet, this week, saw more appointments create a new look line-up, with three men and three women taking roles.

Councillor Parry said: “The addition of equalities as a cabinet role is particularly fitting as this council uniquely has women holding leadership positions of provost, leader and chief executive with a gender balanced provost and deputy provost and gender balanced cabinet.

The SNP Midlothian councillors, pictured after winning the council elections last month.

“A first for Midlothian and hopefully a future Gold Standard for councils and governments across Scotland and all our nations and beyond.”

The new council leader said equality would be a key attentions of the cabinet announcing plans to set up a cost of living task force to tackle the poverty crisis facing residents

She said: “The work of all our cabinet leaders will be to address the inequality of poverty and we will lead this work immediately with the first focus of this administration to turn to the cost of living crisis.

"We will bring forward a paper to our next council meeting to set up a cost of living task force for Midlothian.”

Cabinet portfolios were appointed with Councillor Parry leading on finance and a new equalities portfolio.

Councillor Colin Cassidy, depute cabinet convenor, took on the health and wellbeing portfolio, with Councillor Dianne Alexander handed responsibility for community facilities, climate change and environment, Councillor Ellen Scott responsibility for education, children and young people, Councillor Douglas Bowen responsibility for economic development, planning and transport and Councillor Stewar McKenzie housing services, community safety and community empowerment.