Councillor Arooj Shah formally appointed as new Leader

COUNCILLOR Arooj Shah was formally appointed as the new Leader of Oldham Council at its Annual Council meeting.

As the new leader, Cllr Shah is committed to making sure Oldham residents can take pride where they live, that young people have the right opportunities to thrive, that arts and culture are at the heart of Oldham, and everyone in their communities has a voice.

She said: “I’m truly honoured to have returned as the Leader of Oldham Council, and am absolutely committed to serving the people of Oldham. I’ve lived in Oldham all my life and will always be passionate about my hometown and the people who live here.

Cllr Arooj Shah

“I share the same aspirations for Oldham as others who live and work here – I’m proud of our borough, I want all our young people to have the opportunity to thrive, and I want to ensure people from all our communities have a voice in how decisions are made and how we drive our town forward, together.

“That pride in our borough is why one of my commitments as Leader is to continue and expand on our extremely successful Don’t Trash Oldham campaign, which I founded in 2021 – but with an added focus on creating a greener Oldham, including planting trees, investing in parks, and sprucing up unloved alleyways.

Alongside this, Cllr Shah, is committed to regenerating and improving the town centre – with plans to redevelop Spindles Town Square Shopping Centre into a new market and events space well underway.

Cllr Shah said: “Our officers at the Council are working hard to deliver plans for new homes in the town centre, a new 5.6-acre urban park in the heart of Oldham and a new theatre, scheduled to open in 2026.”

“I’m also excited to reignite the Oldham Economic Review Board findings from March 2022, so we can improve the prospects and opportunities for the young people of the borough, and one of my other priorities will be to undertake a review to bring back District Community Councils – making sure everyone has a voice and an opportunity to shape their local area.

“The last couple of years have been incredibly difficult for many people due to the Cost of Living crisis, but we want to make sure people’s opinions are heard, even if our budgets are diminishing year on year.

“Oldham is such an amazing and diverse borough – I want to embrace the pride and strong community spirit we have, and build on the already fantastic things that are happening here to make our town an even better place to live, work and raise a family.”

Cllr Shah, who represents St Mary’s ward, has lived all her life in Glodwick after her parents moved to the UK from Pakistan to work in the local textile industry in 1968.

She became a councillor for the first time in 2012 and was named ‘Young Councillor of the Year’ in 2013.

Cllr Shah was appointed the country’s first Cabinet Member for Covid-19 Recovery in May 2020 and became Leader of the Council in 2021. As well as being Leader in 2021-22, she held responsibility for the Covid-19 Recovery, as part of her wider responsibilities for economic and social reform.

If you need to contact Councillor Arooj Shah visit the official councillor webpage. 

Elaine Taylor has been appointed Statutory Deputy Leader and Shaid Mushtaq as Deputy Leader.

Cllr Shah’s new Cabinet team, also announced at today’s Annual Council meeting, are as follows:

  • Leader of the Council – Cllr Arooj Shah, Cabinet Member for Reform and Regeneration
  • Cllr Abdul Jabbar, Cabinet Member for Finance and Corporate Resources
  • Cllr Shaid Mushtaq, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People
  • Cllr Barbara Brownridge, Cabinet Member for Health and Social Care
  • Cllr Mohon Ali, Cabinet Member for Education and Skills
  • Cllr Chris Goodwin, Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods
  • Cllr Elaine Taylor, Cabinet Member for Housing and Licensing
  • Cllr Peter Dean, Cabinet Member for Communities and Culture
  • Cllr Fida Hussain, Cabinet Member for Business, Employment and Enterprise

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