New role for former MP Heidi Allen who might have been Mayor
- Credit: Archant
Former South Cambridgeshire MP Heidi Allen is to become chair of social enterprise group Cambridge Housing Association (CHS).
Ms Allen was MP for South Cambridgeshire from 2015 to 2019. She resigned from the Conservative Party in 2019 to join the anti-Brexit Independent Group which became Change UK.
She was later to sit as an independent before joining the Liberal Democrats.
However, she decided not to stand for re-election at the general election in December 2019 and said that Brexit had “broken our politics”.
Five years ago, she was a candidate to become the Conservative nominee for the first elected Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.
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The party ruled out her candidature as she had proposed remaining an MP if elected.
James Palmer, who won the nomination and became mayor, was later to describe her decision to leave the Conservatives as “foolish”.
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Ms Allen had argued that the position of Mayor “is not about party politics – it is about harnessing the wide range of skills, expertise and ideas that exist, regardless of political persuasion”.
She also felt that it was “about creating and protecting jobs, it’s about ensuring we have enough homes for people to live in and it’s about spending the budget in the best and most cost-effective way”.
At CHS she will head an organisation that is a major player in providing affordable housing and care across Cambridgeshire, with 7,000 residents and 2,000 care and support customers.
And she will be able to bring her expertise to the fore in fulfilling the CHS ambition of providing at least 100 new affordable homes a year.
It employs around 350 staff although as chair, Ms Allen will effectively only be paid an honorarium.
Her predecessor, Nicola Scrivings, has been chair since 2013 – latest accounts show she was ‘paid’ £6,000 a year.
CHS Group also provides support for young people, the homeless, nurseries for babies and young children and money, debt and employment advice.
Ms Allen said: “When I decided to stand down from being the MP for South Cambridgeshire, I knew it would be important for me to continue contributing to my local community.
“I believe passionately that those of us fortunate enough to be in a position to help, must do what we can to support people on lower incomes and the more vulnerable members of our society.”
She added: “The services that CHS Group delivers day in day out make the most incredible difference to so many lives.”
CHS Group says Ms Allen “is highly regarded in Cambridgeshire for her public policy work, notably her campaigning against the £20 Universal Credit cut this autumn”.
Ms Scrivings said: “The time I have spent with CHS has been rewarding in so many ways.
"I have seen first-hand how an organisation and its people can share a value set that is important to them as individuals, and important to the organisation in how it works.
"This has been incredibly powerful and has meant that I have spent time with many dedicated and expert people who are totally committed to helping others.”