What should be the key issues for Bristol's new Mayor?
While voting for Police and Crime Commissioners has taken most of the attention today, the people of Bristol are also currently taking to the polls to vote for their new mayor.
The referenda on mayors held back in May were a bit of a damp squib – Bristol was the only city of those polled on the issue of introducing a mayor to vote yes. But despite going against the crowd, the significant improvement in strategic leadership that the mayoralty is likely to provide will be a very good thing.
So how should the winner of today’s vote put these freedoms to good use? Here are three suggestions:
Of course, the Mayor of London covers 33 local authorities, rather than the one that the Mayor of Bristol will represent. This is a key problem of the type of mayoralty that was offered to our cities outside of London.
So over the longer term, as the mayor demonstrates the impact that they can have on the city economy, he or she should also seek to work with neighbours to augment the mayor’s political coverage to one that matches the economy of the city, not an artificial boundary on a map. For those outer areas worried that this will mean too much focus on the city at the expense of more rural areas, it may be worth remembering that the first time Boris Johnson was elected mayor of London, it was on the basis of votes in the suburbs rather than the city centre.
Bristol is a vital cog in UK plc. With the strong stewardship of its new mayor it could cement its position as England’s strongest performing big city outside of London. Today marks an important juncture in the city’s history. Whoever is elected, the mayoralty is likely to provide significant scope to support the city and its residents to prosper in the future.
Director of Policy and Researchp.firstname.lastname@example.org
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