Listen again: Bristol Mayor candidates on local economy and sustainability

Candidates for the job of Mayor of Bristol were at the Arnolfini on the Harbourside last week to answer questions from over 200 residents and businesses.

Bristol mayor hustings panel

Listen again to the two hour debate with Ujima Radio’s podcast: 

The sold-out event was organised by the Bristol Pound with Bristol Green Capital Partnership CIC, Bristol Cycling Campaign, Friends of the Earth and Sustrans. BBC Radio Bristol presenter Laura Rawlings chaired the debate with candidates George Ferguson (Independent), Kay Barnard (Liberal Democrat), Tony Dyer (Green Party) and Marvin Rees (Labour Party) in attendance.

The local economy section was kicked off with the question:

The council spends over £350 million of public money each year and lots of it is spent with businesses outside Bristol, including large multi-nationals. What practical steps will you take to increase the amount of money staying in Bristol?

Tony Dyer pointed out the increasing problem with tax havens, but offered his solution: “We have a big problem with tax avoidance and lots of money going overseas – however none of them accept Bristol Pounds. If you are spending your money with Bristol Pound, you are stopping tax avoidance and bringing money back into our local economy.”

George Ferguson believes in the benefits of using Bristol Pounds and encourages the audience to invest themselves and spend across the city: “I want to see Bristol Pounds become more available across institutions and businesses to use across the city, whether it be paying for a council tax bill, energy bill or your bus fare.”

Marvin Rees stated Bristol is one of the more prosperous city’s in the country, yet the gap between the rich and poor is growing: “People are feeling excluded. To drive a good economy, we need to equip young people for work. There are practical things we can do; plan ahead, have apprenticeships in place, skills pipeline in place and of course, pay the living wage.”

Kay Barnard, also in favour of more apprenticeships in local businesses to address social exclusion. “One of the main problems is smaller, local business are excluded from local procurement in favour of big, national companies.”

Read more from the hustings:

Bristol Pound on film – UWE students’ documentary on local currency

Five students from the city’s UWE university have made a short film telling the story of the Bristol Pound and how it’s had an impact on local businesses.

The film is a project by students Mei Davidson, Beth Miskin-Garside, Eve Dolman-Bowles, Megan Grindle and Nathalie Kupper Mccarrick who are all studying Graphic Design at UWE.

They were asked to create a short documentary on the stories that exist within Bristol that connect to a wider political, social and cultural context.

Mei Davidson said: “We decided to focus on the Bristol Pound because we thought that this was something very important to Bristol and is a response to the wider economical situation. Also, as a group of students who have lived elsewhere for most our lives, we knew very little about the Bristol Pound so it was an exciting opportunity for us to learn about it and talk to people in the community about it.”

The students’ film is being screened at the Watershed on the Harbourside at 11am on Wednesday 27 April.


Missed out on a ticket for #BrisFuturesMayor debate? Listen live on Ujima radio

Candidates for Bristol’s top job will be answering questions from city residents at a sustainability-themed debate tomorrow (Wednesday) at the Arnolfini gallery.

Bristol Mayoral Election 2016 ballot box

Over 200 people have got a ticket for the *sold out* event but you can listen to the whole thing live on Ujima radio from 7pm.

You can also join the debate on Twitter using the hashtag #BrisFuturesMayor. Questions from twitter will be taken on the night, so you can grill the candidates from wherever you are.

The ‘hustings’ event has been organised by Bristol Pound, Bristol Green Capital Partnership CIC, Bristol Cycling Campaign, Friends of the Earth and Sustrans.

Ciaran Mundy, CEO of Bristol Pound, said

“It’s important the Mayor of Bristol takes the city’s environment and local economy seriously. This event is the perfect opportunity for the candidates to tell us their ideas for how Bristol will become a sustainable city for the future.”

The event will give the people of Bristol a chance to hear the candidates’ plans for creating a low carbon and sustainable future for the city. Questions will be taken from the audience, in advance and on the night, on the four key themes of sustainable transport & active travel, energy & climate change, local economy and the Bristol Green Capital Partnership vision of a low carbon city with a high quality of life for all.

BBC Radio Bristol presenter Laura Rawlings will chair the debate with candidates George Ferguson (Bristol 1st), Kay Barnard (Liberal Democrat), Tony Dyer (Green) and Marvin Rees (Labour).

Free marketing for growth workshop for Bristol Pound business members

The Bristol Pound team are excited to bring a Get Set for Growth workshop to Bristol Pound business members.

Get Set for Growth - Bristol Pound business event

Get Set for Bristol – Marketing for Growth
When: 10th May 2016, 9.15 – 11.45am
Where: Folk House, 40a Park St, Bristol, BS1 5JG
Book now: 

We speak to our network of over 800 local, independent businesses every day and we know that competing with the marketing budgets of large businesses can be a tall ask. Get Set for Growth’s expert team will deliver a practical and insightful workshop to help you market and grow your business.

This is a Bristol Pound members-only event so it will be an excellent opportunity to mingle with other like-minded businesses, share challenges and create opportunities.

What’s planned on the day

9.15 Registration, refreshments and networking
9.45 Introductions and welcomes – Emily Hazell, Partnership Manager, Bristol Pound
10.00 Growing your Local Business – Fiona Fraser, Marketing Advisor, Get Set for Growth
Introducing Get Set for Growth
Marketing for Growth
Break out group & discussion
11.30 Q&A and feedback
11.45 End and networking

Book your place now:

About Get Set for Growth

Get Set for Growth is a specialist service offering funded marketing and finance expertise to ambitious businesses with the potential to grow, thanks to the Regional Growth Fund. Growing your business requires money and customers: Get Set for Growth is a unique service that helps you get both through a combination of finance and marketing expertise. The West of England team have been live in Bristol for just over 6 months and have recently celebrated the enrolment of their 200th client.

Want a stall at Bristol Harbour Festival?

Bristol’s largest free festival, Bristol Harbour Festival, returns to the waterside on 15-17 July and this year they’re working with the Bristol Pound to keep it local.

Over one mile of vessels, food markets, circus acts, live music and performers will be on Bristol’s waterways for the festival which attracted a quarter of million people in 2015.

Applications for traders at the event are currently open – but only until the 22 April.

Click here to download the application forms: 

Chloe Hood, Event Manager, said:

“Bristol Harbour Festival is excited to have Bristol Pound involved this year and we would love to keep things local. If you are interested in having a stand at the show, whether you’re a market trader, caterer or business wanting to showcase your company, we’d love to hear from you.”

Bristol Harbour Festival will be encouraging the use of the Bristol Pound with all Bristol traders this year and cashpoint locations will be easy to spot in the official programme.


Another year but not just another festival – Bristol Food Connections 2016

Bristol Food Connections festivalBristol Food Connections 2016 is just around the corner, starting on Friday 29th April and running until 7 May 2016. This is the third year the city will be transformed, bringing good food and people together over a nine day period, and it’s bigger than before.

We’re excited to be working with Bristol Pounds, which will be accepted throughout the festival, at the Bar in College Green and along the Bristol Food Trail throughout the festival.

The Bristol Food Trail embraces Bristol’s independent spirit, supporting farmers, chefs, food projects and businesses that work tirelessly to put good food on our plates. Following The Food Trail you can visit, shop and eat at some of the city’s best independent food establishments over the festival period and try something you haven’t tried before.

The Bristol Food Map clearly highlights which shops offer vegetarian, vegan and glutton-free options and, for the first time this year, which also accept the Bristol Pound – it really is about staying local and supporting our home grown talents.

This year, there’s also a Bristol Food Card which will unlock over 90 different discounts and offers from food trail participants, ranging from a free croissant with your coffee to speciality meals and discounts off food purchases. It’s an A-Z of independent cafes, restaurants, shops and bars, from Adelina Yard to Ruby & White, from The Better Food Company to Thali Cafe.

Ethical eating can be easy in our vibrant independent minded city, as farmers, producers, chefs, restaurateurs, local community groups and all those interested in food come together for this unique event. Whether you’re looking for big, celebrity chef banquets or brain-food debates, cooking demos or foraging walks, there’s something across the nine days for everyone.

Look forward to seeing you there with your Bristol Pounds in your pockets.

Bristol Food Connections is a unique citywide food festival that aims to bring people and good food together. It’s running from Friday 29 April to Saturday 7 May 2016 at venues across the city.


Why we don’t have a fair money system

I was dumb-struck when I heard yesterday how much money super-rich people and corporations are hiding using the offshore banking system. Billions of pounds are being put through bank accounts across the world to avoid paying tax – and by some very recognisable names.

Tax haven stunt by ActionAid

The names in the leaked Panama Papers are making headlines today but back in 2010 Nicholas Shaxson, in his book Treasure Islands, made it very clear this was a growing problem reaching over £20tn at the time. That figure is likely much higher today. This matters because it is money that no longer supports the jobs and lives of ordinary people and the public services they depend on.

There is a lot of outrage at the enormous scale of hidden and stolen wealth – and rightly so. However, it is important to remember this is the tip of an iceberg and we should not be fooled into thinking it is the work mainly of corrupt despots and bad apples in overseas nations.

The City of London is the epicentre for much of the world’s shadowy banking. Most of the hidden wealth is the product of endless hours of hard work by ordinary people, siphoned upwards, sometimes through corrupt governments but it has become normal in some corporate and wealthy circles. Wrestling it back through introducing a fairer system requires a recognition of how widespread it is.

For me the question is not whether a criminal act has been committed, but why we have money and banking system that actively encourages this hoarding of wealth by a tiny minority of people. It does not need to and ultimately serves no-one – I doubt even those with the swollen offshore accounts.

In terms of well-being it has long been understood that increasing wealth above a relatively mundane £20 or £30k does not bring greater happiness, in fact it may well be the reverse.

The rapacious pursuit of wealth and power that some of these people are compelled by seems to me a problem and not something we should structure monetary and banking systems to serve.

In Bristol it is now very possible to avoid much of the system all-together by using Bristol Pounds. Thousands of people have started on this journey of using local money that stems the losses into the shadow banking system. It is a simple but powerful way to prevent money going offshore and sends a clear signal to those that run the current system that we want more positive values-based financial services that serve real people and real jobs.

We need many more people to join us and we are supporting similar schemes across the UK. We want to be a small start in a great and building movement to take back our economy. In two weeks we will meet with dozens of similar schemes at the Guild of Independent Currencies in Liverpool. Our goal is to support each other at a national and international level and together create money that serves society at large right now and helps create a better future too.

Ciaran Mundy is Chief Executive Officer of the Bristol Pound.

Picture credit: ActionAid UK