A NEW-LOOK cabinet has been unveiled at County Hall to lead Essex County Council over the next year.

It comes as the council revealed it would be spending almost £5 million extra on pothole and highway repairs.

Among the new Tory cabinet are Colchester stalwarts Sue Lissimore, who takes on the new culture and communities portfolio, and Kevin Bentley, who is returning as deputy leader while taking on the infrastructure portfolio, which includes highways.

Council leader David Finch said: “In the past year, our progress has been unstoppable with ideas and innovations that are not only tackling the greatest challenges we face in Essex, but inspiring the rest of the nation too.

“As we approach 2020, when this Council will no longer receive any central government funding, we must keep that momentum, build on our successes and continue to strive for excellence in everything we do.

“To achieve this, I have made some changes to the Cabinet to ensure we have the knowledge and experience to meet the challenges ahead.”

Other members of the cabinet are;

Louise McKinlay retains finance and gains additional responsibility for traded and commercial services.

Susan Barker keeps the customer portfolio, in charge of libraries, and gains responsibility for corporate services.

Gagan Mohindra will take on the new portfolio economic development, which includes housing.

Dick Madden remains responsible for children and families.

John Spence retains health and adult social care.

Ray Gooding continues in education and takes on additional responsibility for skills.

Simon Walsh continues as environment and waste portfolio holder.

Mr Finch also congratulated Cllr John Jowers on his election as chairman of the council, along with his deputy Eddie Johnson, while paying tribute to the achievements of former highways boss, Ian Grundy, who is leaving the cabinet, and outgoing chairman John Aldridge.

In his speech to the council, Mr Finch announced almost £5 million of funding for pothole repairs and highways improvements.

He said: “I am pleased to announce additional funding for our highways that have deteriorated more rapidly due to the bad weather earlier this year.

“There will be an extra £2.5 million for pothole repairs, £1.2 million for local highways panels, £1 million for highways works that can be devolved to as local a level as possible, and £200,000 to keep Essex tidy by improving the appearance of highways and verges.”