In May, West of England voters will elect a metro mayor for the second time. The winner will lead a mayoral combined authority with powers over transport, skills and planning.
Beyond the immediate challenge of recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic, which has seen unemployment-related benefit claims rise locally by 18,000 from March 2020 to February 2021, this briefing sets out three policy priorities the mayor should focus on to support the economy.
Policy priority 1: Build more homes to improve local affordability
- Double the target housing growth rate
- Call for a strategic review of green belt land
- Recognise the importance of commercial space in Bristol’s city centre
Policy priority 2: Cut congestion, clean up the air, and improve public transport
- Build institutional capacity to promote a strong transport network
- Tackle congestion, in coordination with the local authorities, by implementing congestion charges, and workplace parking levies
- Use transport-related revenues to fund WECA’s local transport operation
Policy priority 3: Ensure that young people have the necessary skills to benefit from the existing economy, in which Bristol city centre plays a pivotal role
- Promote extracurricular activities for young people
- Target and support young people at risk of not participating in education and training post-16
- Help maximise the take-up of existing active labour market policies with a ‘skills compact’