I was pleased to introduce my friend Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol at the launch of his campaign to be re-elected.
Under Marvin’s leadership, Bristol is a city which is getting stuff done. When elected in 2016, urban local authorities were having their Government funding slashed and Bristol faced a £30million black hole left over from the previous mayor. In light of this, it is remarkable that Bristol City Council will now be passing its second no-cuts budget, protecting the services from which we all benefit, like libraries and children’s centres, whilst meeting their statutory duties in social care.
Bristol has seen a revolution in house-building, and the rate of housing development has increased substantially. The Council launched its own housing company, Goram Homes, so it can directly provide the homes people need, rather than relying on private developers. For the first time in a generation, Bristol is building new Council housing. We are seeing progress being made to resolve Bristol’s transport woes, with new investments in improving buses and walking and cycling infrastructure, and Marvin is steadfast in his vision to deliver a mass-transit system in Bristol.
I worked closely with Marvin to launch Feeding Bristol to combat food poverty, which provided over 50,000 free meals to children during the summer holidays. The Council wants to support local food growing land, an issue which I had little success raising with the previous mayor. The Council protected the Blue Finger site from proposals to pave it over and is seeking to get food growing land in every ward in the city.
One of my passions is grassroots music, but too many independent venues face the threat of closure. Thanks to Marvin and Cabinet Lead Nicola Beech, the Council is meeting this challenge head on. They have pioneered an advisory panel, Bristol@night, which holds responsibility for protecting and developing Bristol’s night time economy. It’s now just over a year since the panel was formed, and representatives of various clubs and bars across the city recently came together with organisations such as Bristol Drugs Project and Save Bristol Nightlife to celebrate all that’s been achieved so far. At the same time, we brought Channel 4 to Bristol.
Marvin has my full support, and I would urge you to support him and your local Labour candidates in the elections in May.