I was in Westminster for the last two days, calling for more powers and funding for cities as well as seeking investment in Bristol. Speaking at the Social Policy Forum and at a town planning event where I argued that cuts were damaging our citizens today and also for the long term, by making planning difficult.
There is a local story today that I am calling people to do more than shout from the side-lines and some seem vexed by that approach. This is my view – I feel strongly that people need to help find solutions and I feel that as strongly as I feel that the government must reverse the cuts and give cities funds and powers to grow an inclusive economy as well as protect it’s most vulnerable citizens. My own journey into policy began with the same challenge. Simon Woolley of Operation Black Vote challenged me saying “you have a great analysis on what’s wrong but what are you going to do about it?”. He challenged me to step up with solutions because the poorest and most vulnerable needed more from me than a declaration of my values.
The latest two days in Westminster has been to clearly express my view again, and I will be meeting direct with government ministers to call for funding and powers and I won’t stop. I will work with our four city MP’s to do the same. But – at the same time, I will continue to call on our city. The national cuts are a challenge for all of us, not just the city council. As the government forcibly shrinks the council’s footprint in the city, we must find alternative solutions and through our current round of consultations or by any means you like, come forward with ideas and join your community to work together for all of us.
To take part in our consultation visit www.bristol.gov.uk/yourneighbourhood