York councillor standing down to restore work-life balance

Leaving City of York Council next May… Neil Barnes
27 Jun 2018 @ 2.59 pm
| News, Politics

After eight years, a York councillor wants a break from politics – and a chance to restore his work-life balance.

So Neil Barnes will stand down as Labour Party member for Hull Road Ward in May 2019. He was first elected to the seat in 2011.

Cllr Barnes described his time on the council as life-changing, adding: “There won’t be many experiences that will be more significant in my life.”

But he felt he couldn’t do another four-year term:

I’m standing down for a break from politics. The role of councillor has become an ever-more challenging one at a time when I have other things going on in my life that I want to focus on, including my career.

The public rightly expect their elected representatives to be hard-working and responsive but because I’m still young, working hard on a full-time career and thinking about a reasonable work-life balance, I don’t feel I can meet this expectation for another full term of four years.

He said he was proud to have campaigned for new planning laws on Homes of Multiple Occupancy (HMOs) and to have forced the council leadership to change its approach to Council Tax Support.

Controversial meeting

Cllr Barnes was in the chair during the infamous audit and governance committee meeting where councillors and council officers clashed over whether to make public a highly critical report.

During his time in York politics Cllr Barnes also held these posts:

  • chief whip for the Labour Group
  • shadow spokesperson for finance
  • chair of economy & place scrutiny committee.

“Perhaps one day I’ll be back, when I’ve a wiser head on my shoulders and a bit more time!,” he said.

Labour Group Leader, Coun. Janet Looker said that Neil will leave a “huge gap that will be difficult to fill when he steps down,” adding:

I have valued his objectivity, his strong sense of fairness and his commitment both to the residents of his ward and to his wider responsibility as a councillor to his day to day council work for the whole of the city.