Which parliamentary candidates will fight for a fairer, stronger and greener local economy for Bristol?

The Bristol Pound asks candidates for Bristol West and South how they will support a strong local economy.

The people of Bristol are gearing up for the final round of campaigns before we hit the ballot box on Thursday 8th June, and it’s a general election like no other.

The emphasis of party campaigns has been centred around important national and global concerns, but in such turbulent political times, it’s easy to lose sight of the local issues affecting the communities we know and love. Before you nail your colours to the mast, what do you really know about Bristol’s candidates’ policies on our local economy?

The UK’s economy has transformed beyond recognition over the last 30 years, from an economy centred around manufacturing to one profiting from its massive financial sector. The UK can now be seen as a playground for multi-national corporations, with the lowest corporation tax rate in the G20. The current financial system has given birth to all kinds of issues, the housing crisis being just one that has severely affected Bristol.

Whatever your political affiliation may be, the arguments for building a strong local economy are genuine; stimulating employment growth, procurement of local products without large carbon price tags and reducing inequality are just some of the things we can achieve by a fairer local economy.

I asked Bristol’s main candidates for South and West how they planned to create a fairer, stronger and happier economy in Bristol, and here’s what they said…

Continue reading

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:
http://www.ujimaradio.com/2016/04/mayoral-candidates-answer-questions/ 

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:
http://bristolgreencapital.org/what-bristols-mayoral-candidates-had-to-say-at-our-sustainability-themed-hustings/

Who should be our next mayor? Here’s an event to help you decide

With a little over a month to go until Bristol’s mayoral elections, we are pleased to announce details of our mayoral debate taking place at the Arnolfini on 20 April. Bristol Mayoral Election 2016 ballot box When: 20 April 2016 from 7pm to 8.45pm
Where: Arnolfini Auditorium, 6 Narrow Quay, Bristol, BS1 4QA

* Tickets have already sold out. Click the booking button below to add yourself to the waiting list. We’re hoping to live stream the event – more details soon*

Click here to book:

Book your free hustings ticket

Organised with our friends at Bristol Green Capital, Bristol Cycling Campaign, Friends of the Earth Bristol and Sustrans, the hustings event will be an opportunity to put the main candidates for the job of Bristol Mayor in the hot seat.

People from across the city will be coming together to ask the candidates what they would do to improve our city’s local economy, carbon footprint and quality of life for all if they win the upcoming election.

This is a great chance to get beyond the usual rhetoric. There will be sections focused on key issues for the city including the environment, local economy and transport – and audience participation is very much encouraged.

Places are limited so book your free place now.

Follow #BrisFuturesMayor for updates and live tweeting during the event on 20th April.You can also share what you want candidates to do to make Bristol a low carbon city with a high quality of life for all.

Picture credit: Philip Halling