SUPPORT for new parents has been written into Carlisle City Council policy and the councillors calling for the changes have called it a win for diversity.

A meeting of the full council in January heard a call from the opposition to the Local Government Association’s Parental Leave Policy.

Labour’s Ruth Alcroft proposed the motion which would mean that the city council offers additional support to parents including up to six months leave from the due date with an option to extend up to 52 weeks.

Councillor Alcroft worked leader of the Labour Group Lisa Brown on the motion and presented it in her absence as she had just given birth to her baby daughter.

The majority Conservative Group were reluctant to except the LGA Labour Group’s Parental Leave Policy and amended the motion, instead pledging that the city council will produce its own.

A report outlining authority’s new Members’ Maternity & Parental Leave Policy was presented to the full council on Tuesday after the work was carried out by the Independent Renumeration Panel.

Cllr Brown said: “It was a long time coming. The win was for all the women and men who think they can’t go into public life because they won’t have time off.

“When you’re faced with the situation you’re more passionate about it.

“It’s the right thing to do and it shouldn’t take hundreds of years to recognise.”

Carlisle Council’s new policy will mean that members can take an appropriate amount of leave at the time of leave or adoption.

It also means that cover will be given to members with a portfolio or special responsibilities.   

Cllr Brown hopes to see the new Cumberland Council adopt a similar policy for councillors who will serve in Carlisle, Allerdale and Copeland from 2023.

She believes that support for parents serving as councillors would mean more diverse representation

“We need experience from all walks of life, we need younger people. Getting it right, it’s stopping that entrenchment of women as primary carers.

“If anybody takes any message from it today it’s not that we want time off getting paid for doing nothing it’s that you can also be a councillor.”