Cllr Arooj Shah
Council Leader and Cabinet Member for Economic and Social Reform
Cllr Arooj Shah is Council Leader, and has Cabinet responsibility for Economic and Social Reform. She is a councillor for Chadderton South.
As well as steering the overall direction of the Council, Arooj is responsible for leading the borough’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. As well as focusing on the economic regeneration of Oldham, she leads on poverty and inequality, and is the borough’s representative at the Greater Manchester Combined Authority.
Arooj has lived all her life in the Oldham borough. Her parents migrated from Pakistan in 1968 to work in the local textile industry. She is one of seven siblings and went on to study Politics and International Relations at De Montfort University in Leicester.
She was first elected as a ward councillor for St Mary’s in 2012 and selected as Cabinet Member for Performance and Corporate Governance with responsibility for key campaigns and communications.
Arooj led the local authority’s pioneering Energy Switching campaign which became the most successful single-authority scheme of its type in the country and was later rolled out across Greater Manchester. A collective bargaining initiative, this saw 8,726 households signing up and making an average saving of £171 per year – putting around £1.4 million back into resident’s pockets.
In 2013, Arooj was named ‘Young Councillor of the Year’, alongside fellow Oldham councillors Amanda Chadderton and Sean Fielding, by the Local Government Information Unit.
She entered politics to give people strength and confidence in what they do so that they feel able to speak up and have a voice. She has also worked hard encouraging local groups in schemes designed to take control of their communities and make them better places to live.
Arooj was praised for speaking out about harassment and intimidation she had suffered as an Asian female councillor before she was re-elected in the Chadderton South ward in May 2018.