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Looking forward to Brighton and Hove's future
Today (May 17)Jason Kitcat, a Green councillor since 2007, became leader of the city council and took charge of a budget of more than £720 million.
Despite his star rising in the national Green party and holding apparent political ambitions elsewhere, Coun Kitcat maintains his immediate political future remains in the city.
The father-of-two, who was not challenged for the role, said: “By 2015 I still want to be leader of this council. It's an incredible opportunity to be able to do this.
“By 2015 I really want to see change on the ground.
“I really want people to see a different city so that people will know that we have been here.”
Coun Kitcat, 34, rejects claims that he does not have the experience for the role in arguably the toughest time ever in local government.
He said: “People seem to be forgetting it is the same age that Steve Bassam became leader of Brighton Borough Council.
“I have started a number of businesses and run a not-for-profit organisation.
“I would not have the confidence of the party if they did not feel I was capable.
“I have been selected by my peers and my party to do this.
“Age only goes so far but it's about the experience of people.
“If that’s all that people can throw at me then I’ve not got a lot more to worry about.”
Coun Kitcat listed three major aims of his initial one-year tenure as leader of the council.
1) Local Economy
"This is one of the major areas I want to look at as investment in major projects can be the stimulus for so many other things.
"With the i360 I know the Preston Street traders are waiting for that to happen before they spend money on their own businesses.”
2) Making the city a better place to live
“It really is an incredible city and I really want to talk it up.
“I think we should be looking to compare ourselves with some of the leading cities in the world such as Toronto, Barcelona and Sydney and I want to look at ways we can do that.
“It will not be an easy job.”
3) Increasing participation
“We already have a really good partnership in the city but that tends to be at the top level, such as between the chief executive of the council and the police leader.
“We want to build on that and extend it.
“Local government finance is not straight forward, it's not like a household budget.
“As budgets get smaller there are difficult choices to be made so it's important that people have a say over this.”