Business, Innovation and Economic Growth: We mustn’t risk our recovery

Years ago, I founded my own business in Bristol and like many fellow local business owners, I have been shocked by the lack of commercially minded leadership from our public leaders. When such innovation and expertise exists across the region our public servants should be listening learning and unlocking support so that business can get on with doing what it does best - creating wealth, jobs and opportunities for our whole region. In September last year the Labour led Bristol City Council sold Bristol Energy for £15 million, after racking up losses of over £40 million in the five years since it was set up. Many of us in the community shouldered this loss out of our pockets. As your Conservative Mayor of the West of England, I will plug the current fiscal leaks, ensuring that the wanton waste stops and that we have the business minded, fiscally responsible Conservative leadership that you all deserve. Investment of WECA funds will be tailored and targeted, delivering for the whole region, rather than for the personal pet projects.

In the West of England, we are blessed with an economy worth £38 Billion a year. It is time we unleash the potential right on our doorstep, by using joined up thinking to connect the tremendous assets we possess including the 45,000 businesses, to build a collaborative, clean and cutting-edge economy. I am the only leader that can realise this promise and unlock the West of England’s potential.

As your Mayor I will launch the Collaborative Future Business programme. I want to cut through the red tape to deliver cohesive and connected regional growth, that for too long has been shackled by political infighting or disjointed thinking. I want to deepen links with the West of England Gateway, and I will work tirelessly to secure a sizeable slice of the Conservative Government’s unprecedented regional investment initiatives.

It is vital that building back better mean fresh opportunities and not outdated solutions of the past. That is why I have pledged to launch the Building a Brighter World Innovation Award that will reward and encourage trailblazing innovation and ensure that the West of England can regain its rightful place as an international innovation hub As someone how has negotiated deals grown business internationally I am the only candidate with the experienced and business mindedness to secure the investment in our region that we need.

I am acutely aware of the challenges the global pandemic has posed for many hardworking honest business people. I want to inject our entrepreneurs with optimism and set out a roadmap for recovery that steers well away from the pessimism of Labour politicians. That is why I will deliver the Rapid Redundancy Response Service and Talent Retention Scheme. This scheme will ensure that if businesses are forced to make redundancies, we can retain skills and talent in the region. furthermore, I will deliver over £100 Million of targeted support for businesses and skills over the next 4 years to foster long term sustainable growth and recovery.

Our region is already world leading in creative industries, high tech and engineering innovations and we can continue to deliver growth as we innovate a greener and more prosperous future attracting inward investment, creating jobs and tackling the climate emergency.

Economic growth should benefit our whole region equally. 38% of our new innovations and enterprises are launched within our 50% most deprived communities. This type of innovation despite the odds acts as inspiration to us all. I will ensure our economic growth is fair and just by ‘Leading to level-up’ by boosting business growth programmes and funding through further supporting the Business Growth Hub. I will also build stronger community engagement through pioneering Community Ambassadors so that our multi-million pound investment in our region’s growth is open to and benefits us all.

A vote for me is a vote for recovery. A vote for me is a vote to put money back in your pockets. A vote for me is a vote for the only business minded leader that can put the West of England’s economy back on the map. Let’s not risk our progress.