Candidates reveal their campaign spending at public hustings event
MAYORAL candidates have revealed for the first time how much they are spending on their election campaigns.
The sums came to light at a lively hustings meeting organised by The Post which was held in the restored Anglican Chapel in Arnos Vale Cemetery.
Post editor Mike Norton who chaired the meeting asked each of the candidates how much they were spending after a question from the floor. They replied:
Stoney Garnett (Independent): £160.
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Owain George (Independent): £1,400.
Tom Baldwin (Trade Unionists and Socialist Coalition Against Cuts): "£300 and about the same amount for bus fares to get to hustings."
Marvin Rees (Labour) first responded by saying that in order to get people engaged in the election, it was no good to push a printed out sheet of A4 paper through their doors.
He was again asked by Mr Norton: "How much?"
Mr Rees replied: "About £20,000 in the short campaign" (the official three-week period in the run-up to the election).
George Ferguson (Bristol 1st) claimed Labour were spending a six-figure sum.
Mr Norton asked him where he got his figures from.
Mr Ferguson said his sources were a combination of Labour Party members and trade unionists.
Mr Rees said it was crucial for democracy that ordinary people should be able to stand for public office and denied that a six-figure sum had been spent on his campaign.
Mr Ferguson said "close to" £22,500 had been spent on his short campaign but about £50,000 in total. He said he had wanted to reach voters in every part of the city.
Jon Rogers (Liberal Democrat): about £12,000 for the short campaign and about £10-£12,000 in the three or four months previously.
Neil Maggs (Respect Party): about £2,000.
Tim Collins (Independent): £500 deposit, £750 to be included in the brochure produced by the city council, a daylighter and broadband rental for his online campaign.
Daniella Radice (Green Party): about £2,000 including £1,250 for the deposit and council brochure.
She said she was a mother of two young children and it wasn't easy for someone with a full-time job to give it up to be a candidate.
"It's not just about money, it's having the time," she said.
Geoff Gollop (Conservative) had left the meeting before the issue was raised.
Not surprisingly, transport was again a lively talking point at this meeting. This eventually focused on whether the BRT (bus rapid transit) scheme should continue or be scrapped.
Mr Maggs said that if he was elected, then the BRT would be scrapped by about 9.30am of the first day of taking office.
But Dr Rogers made the point that the Government had put £200 million on the table to pay for the scheme and if it was scrapped, the money would be gone.
Mr Ferguson said he wanted to re-negotiate the BRT funding so it could be used to create the Bristol Metro rail system and improve bus services.
Mr Gollop said BRT was flawed but there was no reason why they should not continue with an modified version with different routes.
Mr Rees said the money was "tagged" to the BRT but Bristol's reputation would be at stake if they lost the funding and then went back to the Government to ask for more to pay for another scheme.