Published: 10:01, 05 September 2019
| Updated: 11:33, 05 September 2019
The Conservative leader of Kent County Council Paul Carter has announced he is to stand down from the role.
He told colleagues this morning.
Following a brief period as a Maidstone borough councillor, he was elected to Kent County Council in 1997.
He became leader in 2005 and has become one of the most influential voices in local government over that time.
Mr Carter will step down on October 17.
In a statement he said: "The Conservative Group will elect a new leader at the Conservative Group AGM on October 4. The new leader will be appointed and take over at the County Council meeting on October 17.
"After 14 years as leader of Kent County Council, it is time to pass on the challenge to a new individual. This will enable the new administration to build on the successful track record of the council and prepare for success in the County Elections in May 2021.
"It has been a great privilege to serve as leader of the council and I have enjoyed every moment of the last 14 years..." – Paul Carter
"I will continue as a Kent County Councillor and intend to continue in public service, devoting my time and energy in two particular areas."
He will now focus more on developing health and education in the county.
He continued: "Staff and elected members should be proud of what has been achieved, particularly in the last 10 years of austerity.
"We have delivered extraordinary financial efficiencies and stretched public money to go further, improving and modernising the complex array of services that we provide day in, day out.
"We have protected many highly valued non-statutory services, such as preventative services that help and support the vulnerable, elderly and frail and continue with generous travel subsidises.
"Unlike so many local authorities that have reverted to the minimum 'core service model'.
"It has been a great privilege to serve as leader of the council and I have enjoyed every moment of the last 14 years. I shall miss the challenge and the adrenalin that the job provides, but perhaps not miss the long hours that the role entails."
Before becoming leader he held the job of cabinet member for education.
During his time as leader he has had to deal with the consequences of a period in which which councils have had to deal with serious budget cuts but hasalways claimed thatthe authority has managed to protect frontline services.
He was awarded a CBE for services to local government in 2014.