Metro Mayor election: Mini-manifestos

May 05 2021
Metro Mayor election: Mini-manifestos

The Voice asked the candidates in the Metro Mayor election to sum up their manifesto pledges in 100 words.

VOTERS living in South Gloucestershire will join Bristol and B&NES residents to elect the next West of England Mayor on May 6.

The boss of the West of England Combined Authority, or WECA, is in charge of coordinating the region’s transport, housing jobs and skills policy, securing government funding and overseeing the spending of more than £1.1 billion over the next 30 years.

Current Metro Mayor Tim Bowles, a Conservative, is standing down from the position, which he has held since 2017.

To give readers a quick guide to themselves and their policies, the Voice has asked each candidate in the election to send us a 100-word manifesto explaining their priorities, plus a 20-word biography to introduce themselves.

They candidates appear in alphabetical order, as they will be on ballot papers.

 

Dan Norris, Labour

Local. Experienced. Active. Dan’s been an NSPCC-trained child protection officer, a local MP, Environment Minister and run his own businesses. 

I’ll be a jobs first Metro Mayor and get people back to work launching my Green Recovery Plan to create 23,000 new jobs. I want to rejuvenate our high streets, double investment in affordable homes, improve public transport, tackle the climate emergency and make the West of England the bee capital of the UK.

As an active and visible Metro Mayor, I will lead our recovery, bringing people together to ensure our area is on the map: nationally and internationally.

The pandemic has shown what really matters so let’s keep looking out for each other and value what’s truly important.

 

Jerome Thomas, Green

I’ve lived locally with my family for many years, run a successful UK business and I’m a hard-working city councillor.

We need to rapidly move to a low carbon economy, while making sure workers don’t lose out. We need clean energy, affordable green transport, a thriving agricultural sector to supply local food, better support for people who need care and their carers, and more power to communities to take action in the ways they know will work.

I’ve identified £1bn of existing regional funds for local investment in green jobs and growth industries, including support for small businesses. I’ll subsidise rural bus routes and lower fares for young people and I’ll give a greater voice to communities in regional decision-making. 

 

Samuel Williams, Conservative

 

Samuel is a Business founder and charity leader who has worked domestically and internationally to lead social and economic change.

The West of England Mayor is a big job that decides how hundreds of millions of pounds are invested across the region.

This is time to take hold of opportunity and secure our recovery by:

Implementing a modern transport system that works – delivering at least six new stations, crucial rail improvements, ‘on-demand’ services, and cycling and walking services;

Deliver improved skills training for high value and sustainable jobs of the future;

Boosting local enterprise, increasing employment and attracting greater investment;

Unblocking the redevelopment logjam and pioneering more sustainable future communities.

 

Stephen Williams, Liberal Democrat 

Former Bristol West MP and Minister for Communities. Worked as a business trouble-shooter and is a Bristol University history graduate.

I will be a strong champion for the West of England, using my experience in business, as an MP and government minister to get our voice heard loudly in London, winning new investment and powers.

I will also: Lead a green and socially just economic recovery;

Take control of our buses and run them on clean fuel;

Build thousands of new homes to suit all budgets, built to the highest green standards;

Demand a range of new powers from government, making more big decisions locally.

We can’t afford another inexperienced Conservative mayor. Put my experience to work for you!

 

What happened last time

The Metro Mayor has only been elected once before, in 2017.

In the first round, Conservative Tim Bowles won 27.3% of the vote (53,796), followed by Labour's Lesley Mansell with 22.2% (43,627), which took both candidates into the second round.

Stephen Williams of the Lib Dems was third, on 20.2%, while fourth place went to an independent, John Savage, who received 15% of the vote: there is no independent candidate this time around.

The Greens' Darren Hall received 12% of the vote and UKIP's Aaron Foot received 4.2%.

In the second round Labour received just under 22,300 transfers while the Conservatives received just over 16,500, but the increase in the Labour vote was not enough to overhaul the Conservative lead.

More than 60,000 of the 99,500 people who voted for one of the candidates eliminated in the first round either did not cast a second-choice vote or chose another candidate who was eliminated in round one.