Our Labour Group and Council Leader, Janette has served as a Councillor for Liscard since 2012.
This, though, by no means represents the beginning of Janette’s political activism. “I’d say I really got started around 1990, just as people up and down the country took to the streets to march against the Poll Tax – I did that 6 months’ pregnant!” If anything could represent the way Janette, or ‘Jan’ as she prefers to be known, stands up for her values – it is that last sentence.
Tenacious, passionate and loyal, Jan joined the Labour Party to campaign against injustice and inequality, saying firmly that ‘it is our duty as a party to speak up for people who for decades have been habitually ignored.’
Following the retirement of Pat Hackett, Janette seemed immediately to be the outstanding candidate to take over as Labour Group and Council leader, a view that was clearly shared by the Labour Group as she was duly elected to the role in 2020.
“I think it’s fair to say it’s been a bit of a blur,” Janette recalls. And she’s quite right – 2020 has been far from straightforward in terms of Council activity. However, as you’d expect, it is a task and challenge that Jan has thrown herself straight into. A change in the Council’s Governance structure, from Leader/Cabinet to Committee system, has presented its own challenges. Those felt deepest though have been the social and economic issues faced by residents on the Wirral and beyond. Working with other members of Liverpool City Region, Janette has been at the forefront of our recovery strategy.
What a post-Covid economy will look like, we don’t know. But there are few people better placed than Janette to steer the Borough back to calmer waters. Indeed, a flagship policy and achievement of Janette’s has been the commitment to and creation of Borough-wide Community Wealth Building initiatives.
But what is Community Wealth Building?
In Jan’s own words: “It’s about recalibrating the local economy and stopping wealth being extracted from the Borough. It’s about making communities and businesses resilient to Tory Neo-liberalism. It’s about working with our public sector anchor institutions such as Wirral Met, the NHS, Police and Fire Services and the CCG to ensure that they spend every pound they can locally. Buy locally, hire locally, deliver up on apprenticeships, look after our vulnerable children. We need to support and facilitate social enterprises and co-operatives so they can bid for public sector contracts. It’s about building the local economy from the grass roots up.”
Jan’s tireless work in community wealth building reached its peak in 2019. Following protracted negotiations, a full Community Wealth Building strategy will be officially launched in early 2020, whilst negotiations are still ongoing for the opening of a community bank later in the year.
When it comes to grassroots campaigning activity, Jan is a fixture at scheduled canvassing sessions. Lending a hand in all 4 of the local constituencies, Jan has truly led by example and is always willing to help people new to campaigning a helping hand as they get started.
When she isn’t being Councillor Janette Williamson, Jan is a keen music fan, and a regular at live events all over the country.
If you’d like to contact Jan, feel free to do so by emailing email@example.com