The Vale of Glamorgan’s council leader will retire following upcoming elections after more than three decades as a councillor.
Labour councillor Neil Moore represented the Cadoc ward in Barry for 33 years, and served as council leader twice, but is not standing again in the local elections on Thursday, May 5. Councillors across different parties thanked him for his public service on Monday, April 25, during the last full council meeting before the elections.
Cllr Moore thanked council staff and voters in the Cadoc ward while hitting out at criticism from “keyboard warriors and social media pundits”.
He said: “I would like to thank those who supported my appointment as leader at this turbulent time. It has been an honour to do so, albeit when I accepted, little did I know that Covid-19 would hit. Regrettably, Covid is still with us despite the majority of restrictions being eased. Despite the barriers, I know we did a good job and I’m proud that this council is still the best performing council in Wales.
“I appreciate the unstinting support from everyone, but I really have to thank the members of the cabinet who have been superb to work with during the last few years. They have worked tirelessly for the residents of the Vale of Glamorgan and I sincerely thank them for their patience and perseverance. I would particularly like to thank Cllr Lis Burnett, my outstanding deputy leader, without whom I would not have been able to carry out my role.
“I give my utmost thanks to our senior leadership team of officers, particularly the chief executive [Rob Thomas] whom I spent hour after hour, day after day with over the last two years. Virtually, I should emphasise, so no rule breaking here.”
Cllr Moore was awarded an Order of the British Empire at the Queen’s New Year’s Honours at the beginning of this year, for his decades of public service in the Vale of Glamorgan. His wife Anne Moore, who is also a councillor in the Vale of Glamorgan, is retiring too.
He first served as council leader from 2012 to 2017, when Labour ran the Vale in coalition with the Llantwit First Independent party. Then for two years the council was run by the Conservatives, until a split in 2019 led to Labour taking back control of the council in a coalition with former Tory councillors who left the party after an acrimonious split.
Both his terms as leader were marked by austerity and government cuts to local government budgets, while his second term was marked heavily by the coronavirus pandemic which saw the Vale council provide responses such as contact tracing, free childcare for key workers, and personal protective equipment.
Cllr Moore said: “Clearly, thanks have to go to the incredible staff across the council, who carried out their work in such difficult times. Many have worked remotely, and many continue to do so, however there are a multitude who continue face-to-face work in social care, waste and recycling, the PPE team, finance, and the track and tracers, just to name a few. They are a credit to this organisation and I salute you.
“I bow out having represented Cadoc for 33 years, which has been a pleasure to do so, albeit frustrating at times. I would like to thank the electorate for having their trust in me all these years.
“I consider local government to be the backbone of our community and running it is not a simple task, particularly with so much scrutiny from those who have not been prepared to do what [councillors] have done and stand for election. Keyboard warriors and social media pundits should remember that councillors and officers do what is considered to be right in difficult circumstances, within the law and the regulations that we have to follow.
“It’s not easy to protect council services amid government cuts to budgets. Difficult decisions will need to be taken to ensure that Vale residents get the best possible services, especially the vulnerable members of our society who rely on our services.”
Councillors across the political spectrum in the Vale of Glamorgan paid thanks to Cllr Moore, during the council meeting on April 25.
Conservative Cllr George Carroll said: “He has served the Vale for over three decades and he’s always done what he has believed to be right. While inevitably we have disagreed on issues from time to time, I would like to pay tribute to him for his service and wish him and Anne a very happy retirement.”
Labour deputy leader Lis Burnett said: “Neil’s commitment to the council and the people of the Vale has been absolute. As he steps down he leaves a void that will be near impossible to fill. But he and Anne take with them our deepest gratitude and best wishes.”