DENBIGHSHIRE County Council’s newly elected leader promised to make fighting the cost-of-living crisis one of his main priorities.  

Cllr Jason McLellan was elected leader at a full council meeting where 46 of the county’s 48 councillors attended the chamber – with just two members tuning in remotely. 

The newly elected Labour leader received 27 votes to independent candidate Cllr Huw Hilditch-Roberts’ 19. There was one abstention, accounting for 47 of the 48 votes. 

Addressing councillors before the vote, Cllr McLellan gave a lengthy speech where he promised to centre his attention on fighting the cost-of-living crisis.  

Cllr McLellan listed flooding, social care, improving education, the local economy, housing, rural communities, and the Welsh language as his priorities.  

He is expected to announce his cabinet on Wednesday (May 25). But Cllr McLellan said his own portfolio as leader would include improving economic development – for all.  


Speaking on the cost-of-living crisis, he said: “Across all our communities, whether you are in Rhyl or Ruthin or Rhuddlan, we are facing a cost-of-living crisis, a phrase that is bandied about, but it is real.  

“I’ve seen it. In the surgeries I’ve sat in with members of parliament, I’ve seen people struggling to eat and pay the bills, and these are working families.  

“We have a role to address that. We have a responsibility to address that. My portfolio as leader will include economic regeneration. To me, economic regeneration is economic growth that works for all of us, for everyone in our community, and that is why my brief will include economic growth as a driver to fight poverty, inequality, and to fight deprivation.”  

Cllr McLellan added: “I want a town centre first approach to local economies. I want this authority to seriously look at new models of community-based wealth building. This is going to take a bold approach to transfer economic and social power through concepts like local procurement, promoting local spend and local supply chains, for example in the building of houses. 

“The economy needs to come from the roots up, and as leader, that’s what I want to oversee.” 

He added: “We have the overarching policy of the (North Wales) Growth Deal and the North Wales Economic Ambition Board, and I think the authority should still continue to work with those local partners to harness the improvement the North Wales Growth Deal can offer. But we need to at the ground floor to make sure those improvements will bring benefits to all our communities in the north, south, rural and urban areas, not just on a narrow band on either side of the A55.”