Fed-up Hartlepool councillor to stand down due to ‘tough’ budget cuts

Sylvia Tempest
Sylvia Tempest

A FED-UP councillor who says she has become frustrated with the need to make budget cuts has revealed she won’t be standing in this year’s elections.

Councillor Sylvia Tempest has represented the De Bruce ward as a Labour councillor for the last three years.

Coun Tempest says she has enjoyed “moments” of her time as a councillor, but says she has found it “tough” at a time when local authorities are being forced to make savage cuts.

“I made the decision late last year that I wasn’t going to stand at the end of my term,” admitted Coun Tempest.

“I would say the main factor has been the budget cuts, I’m a strong Unison activist so to sit there and see jobs being cut was tough, I really struggled with that.”

Coun Tempest, who lives in the town’s Rowell Street, is a retired senior manager with Hartlepool Borough Council. But she says she has “never worked as hard in her life” since retiring and going on to be elected as a councillor.

Coun Tempest is the chair of the North and Coastal Neighbourhood Forum and former chair of the Neighbourhood Services Scrutiny Forum. She currently sits on the Neighbourhood Services and Licensing Committees. Coun Tempest is also a governor at St Hild’s CE Secondary School and Rift House Primary School and represents Hartlepool Borough Council on Durham Heritage Coast Partnership Steering Group.

Her work also involves being a member of the HMS Trincomalee Trust, Hartlepool Credit Union, River Tees Port Health Authority, Tees Valley Environmental Protection Group and Teesside Environmental Trust.

Coun Tempest is also the secretary of Hartlepool’s Constituency Labour Party and had her hard work recognised when she was awarded with the Secretary of the Year title at the recent Labour North Members’ awards at the party’s regional conference dinner.

“I was really proud to win that award,” said Coun Tempest. “Sometimes when you put so much work in it’s nice to know that it’s recognised.”

Coun Tempest says she will continue as a keen Labour party supporter and has also taken a role as a women’s officer for Unison.

Looking back on her time as a councillor, she added: “I have really enjoyed working with the residents and building up a rapport with them.”