What does this devolution deal mean for us?
Earlier this year Bristol, Bath and South Gloucestershire agreed a devolution deal with government to devolve more power and control to our region. The deal has seen the creation of the West of England Combined Authority and is the biggest opportunity for the West of England in decades.
Central Government is providing £1 billion to our region that will be invested in delivering new and much-needed transport infrastructure, homes and can be a vehicle for enterprise and creating more long-term jobs. This is the first deal of its kind for our region and, if we are successful in its delivery, then we will receive more powers, more funding and more opportunities to expand and grow the West of England.
More importantly, we will able to make decisions locally and decide how policy and decision-making is shaped for the region from within the region.
Some people will ask why our region needs another mayor. As part of our deal with government, it was agreed that we would elect a metro mayor. The Mayor of the West of England will be responsible for overseeing and working with all the political parties to make sure that projects are delivered, money is well invested and that we plan and look forward in decades rather than just years.
This new role should not be another layer of bureaucracy and that is why I am standing as an Independent. I want the focus to be on chairing and delivering for the region and not on party politics.
As your mayor, I would be responsible for working with two Conservative leaders and one Labour leader and I would act as a chairperson between the three local authority leaders in our region. It is important that whoever is elected for this role is focused on getting the best deal for the region and willing to work with anyone.