Engagement with government is a key area of work for us and has very substantial implications for business. The Initiative works on creating strong relationships with Local Authorities to support and advise them on key decisions. Working with our members and our Policy and Partnership Team we are able to better understand and interpret issues of concern to both the Local Authorities, central government and the business community.
The Mayor of Bristol
Any great city needs a clear vision, long term strategic thinking and leadership. The Initiative supported the principle of an elected mayor and the decision by the residents of Bristol to vote for an elected mayor brings the opportunity to do things differently and deliver effective leadership for the city. The mayor has the power to address the perceived and real barriers which stop Bristol from becoming a truly great city.
The Scottish independence referendum sparked the ‘next big political power debate’. Although Scotland rejected independence, the country is set for greater power as all three UK party leaders committed to further devolution of powers in the event of a no vote. As a result this has led to English cities and regions now asking: What about us?
Our research shows that the majority of businesses in the South West (68%) believe that giving English cities and regions more powers to promote local growth would have a positive impact on the UK economy. In the 2050 Vision, the Initiative proposed a wider system of governence for the whole of the city region.
The Initiative is now working to seek answers for questions such as:
What powers would be devolved? What level would these powers be devolved to? How can Business be fully represented in the process?
West of England Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP)
The Initiative helped create and form the West of England LEP. A number of Initiative members hold prominent positions and are encouraged to participate in sector groups to provide intelligence and expertise, helping to shape plans. The LEP has since published its Strategic Economic Plan, Sector Prospectus and an Investment Prospectus. The WoE LEP has been routinely cited as one of the most successful LEPs in the country and is working together to support:
- 95,000 new jobs by 2030
- 3.4% annual growth by 2020
- Over £1 billion of private sector investment over the next 3 years
Our cities play a vital role providing jobs, culture, education and housing to over half the UK population, but the differences between them can be quite stark and national policy and politicians often struggle to take this variation into consideration when they are crafting policy.
Because housing, employment and transport issues vary so much city by city, cities need the power, freedom and funding to make decisions and take the right course of action at a local level.
The Initiative, working with Think Cities, will be pushing for pro growth powers on transport, housing and infrastructure for our region and working to stop the real danger of marginalisation relative to our larger or noisier city neighbours.
Together with Bristol City Council. The Initiative set up and continues to support Destination Bristol. Representing some 600 private businesses and two local authorities, Destination Bristol has two significant roles as the area’s Destination Management Organisation (DMO): developing specific projects both in the Bristol city centre retail and Harbourside areas and as the central body promoting and developing leisure and business tourism for Greater Bristol and South Gloucestershire – an industry worth over £1.6bn to the local economy.
Bristol Cultural Development Partnership
The Initiative works closely with the Bristol Cultural Development Partnership team and helped secure funding for major cultural projects in the near future. Current funding plans for 2018 include the Bristol Festival of Ideas. The Initiative continues to support any new cultural projects and is helping to secure new business board members for the partnership.