Marvin Rees: I'll build 4,000 homes and pay higher wages
LABOUR'S mayoral candidate Marvin Rees has revealed a package of promises as part of his vision for Bristol to become a world-class city.
Mr Rees, the favourite to become the city's first elected figurehead, said Bristol would elect one mayor but needed 430,000 leaders – the number of people who live in the city.
He said: "My plan for Bristol sets out to make it a great place to live providing people with homes and supporting schools and families so our children get the best start in life. It will make it a great place to work by making work pay and securing our economic relevance by building the workforce the world wants.
"Bristol must become a city that realises its potential, has big ideas and sees itself as a big city on the national and international stage."
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Mr Rees said he wants to increase the number of primary and secondary school places while working with the NHS, leisure and sporting partners to prioritise children's health.
"This will include negotiating with central government for additional funding, greater local accountability for schools and a stronger voice for parents in planning and admissions," he said.
He promised: "I will abolish the charges for swimming for the under 16s during school holidays and the over-55s at all times.
"I will end the scandal of just 12 new council homes when Bristol has a housing waiting list of 14,500.
"Working with Housing Associations and the Local Enterprise Partnership, I will make existing land banks available and identify new funding streams to build 4,000 new affordable houses, while bringing empty properties back into use."
He promised to protect people living in privately rented homes with a tenants' charter and a register for landlords.
He said: "I will ensure an iconic Bristol arena is built and I will back both of our major football clubs in their plans to have Premier League stadiums. These venues will host the concerts, conferences and sports events we lose to other cities, act as a hub for our city's arts, culture and sports development and boost the local economy whilst sending a signal that Bristol is open for business."
Mr Rees promises to make Bristol the "apprentice capital" of Britain and, if elected, would set up a Jobs, Skills and Regeneration board to create more jobs.
He said he would help young people to travel more cheaply and introduce a learners' support fund to give financial help to 16- to 19-year-olds.
He wants to make Bristol a "Living Wage City" to ensure that the council and its contractors pay at least £7.20 an hour (the current minimum wage is £6.19 for over 21s).
He said he wants to make Bristol the leading child care city in Britain by harnessing the expertise in children's centres.
On transport, Mr Rees said he would work with operators to make travel cheaper and better connected.
He said: "I will work for Bristol to have integrated transport powers over bus, rail and roads. We will work with neighbouring councils and make full use of our rail network, reopening idle stations. I will introduce a Brunel Travelcard to make it easier to use different forms of public transport, and bring down the costs of daily travel. I will lobby government for the same powers over bus regulation as the Mayor of London."
He said he would also review the closure of adult care centres imposed by the Lib Dem council and introduce a Bristol Care Standard to apply to the inspection of care homes. He would also scrap the Lib Dem increased charge for meals on wheels.