Speakers' Corner: Marvin Rees on what Bristol needs
Let's make the change Bristol needs. The election for mayor gives you a real choice. This is an opportunity to get away from the lack of action we have suffered from and make real change for Bristol.
I want Bristol be a city of aspiration with a vision for the position it wants to hold in the world and a plan for how to get there.
I want it to be a city in which its people and institutions work together and the boundaries between the decisions made by the mayor and the city council are much closer to everyday life. I want it to be an inclusive city committed to eliminating poverty, reducing inequality and building wellbeing.
It's on this collection of characteristics that we will build the world class city we should be. It will be the task of mayor to ensure we realise that promise.
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My vision grows out of my experiences living across the best and worst of our city. I grew up with my mum and sister in Bristol, first in Lawrence Weston and then Easton. We struggled financially, yet my life journey has brought me to a place where I am today raising my own family here and putting my name forward to be the city's first elected mayor.
As mayor I would build an iconic arena in the centre of the city that allows Bristol to host the concerts and conferences we currently lose to other cities and act as a hub for our city's arts and culture.
It means I will use the powers of the mayor's office to ensure our two football clubs finally get their stadiums.
The arguments for these are strong, not least that they send an unambiguous message of the scale of our aspiration. We have lacked big city thinking that has meant we have seen plans but no reality.
The right mayor will understand Bristol is a big city, turn that attitude into big ideas and take that same attitude to Whitehall and business at home and abroad, bringing prosperity, growth and jobs.
My announcement that I will make Bristol a Living Wage city is an indication of the modern, inclusive city I want Bristol to become. It's morally and economically right and draws on business as a positive force and workers and unions as crucial elements of our economy. I want to put families first, improving the availability and flexibility of childcare so women can return to work where they want or need to.
Bristol must be a place where children and young people get off to the best possible start in life, freeing up publicly owned land to build homes and replacing the EMA for young students with a Bristol education allowance.
Bristol will build the workforce the world wants, establishing an apprenticeship hub to make it easier for business and young workers to match development with future economic need.
Transport is of critical importance and the mayor must get the city better connected. It's shocking that our public transport is so poor, so expensive and so disconnected. We have two major rail hubs, a port and an airport and yet we don't see the benefit we should.
Whether you are a motorist, a bus user, a rail commuter or a cyclist our transport just doesn't work. I will fight for funding from central government and work hard to get more powers over transport – the same powers for a Transport for Bristol authority as was delivered in London.
It's vital we work with our neighbouring authorities to integrate our transport system, introduce an 'OysterCard' system for Bristol and work to ensure bus passes can be used before 9am. Public transport should run for the benefit of the public.
I will ensure our voluntary sector gets the support and influence it needs. They are critical to our ability to meet the challenges being stored up for us by the current regime of cuts.
I will support the groundbreaking work being undertaken to make Bristol a zero food waste city while tackling food poverty. The integrity of a modern city is undermined by poverty – we have to change that.
Underpinning all my policy and pledges is to acknowledge that the step change in Bristol life we need will not happen just because we get a mayor.
It is important people across the city recognise the opportunity in the mayoral office and the change it brings to the way we do local governance.
The mayor is only one person and Bristol will need 430,000 leaders. This means you can get involved and have a real impact on decisions that affect Bristol.
Join me on November 15, and let's make the change Bristol needs.