THE leader of Torfaen County Borough Council has called for an end to austerity to protect public services, after his re-election to the position.

Cllr Anthony Hunt, who was Wales’ youngest council leader after taking over from Bob Wellington in 2017, was re-elected at the council’s annual meeting on Tuesday, May 15.

The Panteg councillor received 30 nominations during the recorded poll, which took place after Cllr Ron Burnett was also put forward and who received 10 votes.

He said: “I know I’m not really one for pomp and ceremony and I can be, perhaps, a little bit irreverent at times, but I really do view this as a great privilege to lead this council, to lead so many fantastic councillors and such great community.

“I might be light-hearted sometimes, but it is something I really do respect as a role.

“I’ll try to listen and take time aside from all the meetings to hear your views as members wherever possible, even if any leader can’t always say yes in this job.

“I know it’s not easy, but I respect the job all members do regardless of their party allegiance. And regardless of whether you supported me for leader or not.

“I view you all as people who contribute a great deal to your communities and you’ve got my respect and my ear whenever you need it.”

Turning to austerity, the council leader called for its end, so that public services were able to survive.

He said: “These are the toughest of times for public services thanks to austerity.

“Leading a council in austerity Britain is a bit like cooking a three-course meal in the middle of a storm on a boat.

“The meal won’t be perfect but as a cook, you’ll probably think you did your best in the circumstances.

“That doesn’t however mean we shouldn’t look to improve all the time.”

Cllr Richard Clark was also re-appointed as the council’s deputy leader and the eight members of the executive remained in their roles.

The remaining executive members of the council are: Cllrs Veronica Crick, Fiona Cross, David Daniels, Alan Jones, Mandy Owen and David Yeowell.