The West of England - A BBC West Debate A Mayor for...


The West of England - A BBC West Debate

David Garmston chairs a political debate with the six candidates for the role of mayor of the west of England.


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Transcript


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For centuries, they Mayor has been the centre of municipal power. It

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has been warned by Lord Mayor is for years, what a great privilege for me

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to have it for one year. Now the people are collecting an additional

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Mayor, for the West of England. What will that person do? That person

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will be responsible for developing the economy of the region. Almost a

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million of us from the great cities of Bristol and Bath to the busy

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towns of Thornbury will choose at Metro Mayor. The winner will compete

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with the northern Para has and the new Midlands engine, for jobs and

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investment, for Bath, Bristol and beyond. First, they have to convince

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the voters. I don't think we should have won. Waste of money. Would-be

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employer may? I wouldn't mind having a couple of grand each month. The

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long-term budget is ?1 million, control over jobs, transport and

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where we live. There aren't enough decent homes, not nearly enough.

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Fixing that will be right at the top of the new Metro Mayor's to do list.

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From our safe harbours... To the dangerous waters of the River

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Severn, can a Metro Mayor broaden our horizons?

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Tonight, the six people who want to be Metro Mayor are here,

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at the Bristol and Bath Science Park in South Gloucestershire.

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In a special debate, we will be finding out who's got

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what it takes to represent this vibrant part of the world on the

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Hello welcome. It is good to be with you.

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This is their interview with you, the voters.

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Their chance to impress you as you make your

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So, let's meet the people who want to be mayor

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For the Conservatives, Tim Bowles, a councillor

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For Ukip, Aaron Foot, who is a farmer.

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The environmental consultant Darren Hall

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She is a Diversity and Equality Manager for the NHS.

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The only independent candidate is the businessman

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and hospital chairman, that's John Savage.

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And the ex-Bristol West MP and former government minister

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Stephen Williams is standing for the Liberal Democrats.

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I should does tell you that our audience tonight is made up of

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community campaigners, local business people and supporters of

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the candidates, some of their families are here as well and they

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are welcome. Of course the political dynamic completely change this week

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after the Prime Minister surprised us all by collie that General

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Election. With that in mind, let's take our first question. The Prime

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Minister is calling a surprise election in June, will this and

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Brexit overshadow the role of the Metro Mayor and also the election in

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itself, will it affect your focus on the job? My fears at the moment and

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I am a Remainer through and through, is that this role is our safety net

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and we need to make sure that whatever happens, the region and its

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security is put at the top of the priority list. Whatever happens with

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Brexit? All right, Tim Bowles, was Theresa May right to go to the

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country and will it overshadow what we are doing tonight? We have been

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asked how we think it will affect the election. I welcome the General

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Election in that sense because I think it will help us raise the

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profile of what is happening here. It will certainly mean we have more

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media opportunities and I think it is a really positive thing for us to

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be able to go and take our message is out. I voted to remain. Your

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message to Theresa May is what? My message is to get the best deal for

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the country and that is what will be working for. John Savage, are you

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concerned about voter turnout? Yes I am. I think there is quite a lot of

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voter boredom with politics in general and it is interesting how

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quickly the magnet of central politics can draw the minds of

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people away. This is a really unique opportunity. I think it strengthens

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me to understand that we have got to make it work. The idea that we can

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get more say about our own future is very important and it is a shame

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that there has been this rather big hiatus. It is a spur to keep going.

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Stephen Williams. I think it is a cynical and opportunist moved by the

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Prime Minister to call an election, there is no pressing national reason

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to do so. The only reason Theresa May is doing this is because she

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recognises the fact that in Jeremy Corbyn led party, it is the best

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scenario they could dream of in order to call a snap election. Three

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years earlier than she needs to. In order to win a political advantage.

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There is no pressing Brexit reason for doing so, it is simply naked

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party advantage. However, are now in that situation

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and the Liberal Democrats and myself and the selection will be putting

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forward how we can still resist a Brexit, I am not in favour of a soft

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Brexit, I think Brexit will be damaging to the regional economy. We

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rely on our European partners for our trading links and if I am

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elected as regional Mayor, I will be putting forward a case to put

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forward to the Prime Minister to say this is what you need to protect us

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against. It has put you on the spot, because you wanted to stand as a

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candidate in Bristol as a Liberal Democrat and you're standing for

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this, what would you prefer? I hope to win this election on May the 4th

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and I think I have a good chance of doing so. And if I win this job, it

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will actually be more important than a member of Parliament. I was a

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member of Parliament for ten years. This is a huge opportunity for

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someone to make a difference on the issues that used to frustrate me

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when I was a councillor and an MP. I relish the challenge of winning this

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position. So you would prefer this job? I would actually. Darren Hall.

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I think you picked up a really important point, because the UK is

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the most centrally controlled country in Europe and this is the

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biggest opportunity in a generation that we have to have some control

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back here. That has never been more important than now, when the

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government are trying to set a autocracy up in London over the next

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couple of years. People now have an opportunity on May the 4th to set

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the scene for this region to be a beacon for equality, as opposed to

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the kind of right wing mentality that we are getting from London at

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the moment. And your views on Brexit? I would class myself as

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European. I feel European and feel part of that family of countries who

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were working together on a global scale. This idea that we are going

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to go back to the Great Britain of old is completely ridiculous. We

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need to work together on global problems. Don't think that we

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support the people of this area by doing anything other than trying to

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take positive steps. You would support Brexit? I am very clear that

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we ought to have the opportunity to vote on what the deal is as part of

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this process. We must move on. Lesley Mansell. Well, it is

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affecting the election already because what we have found in the

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Labour Party is that lots more people have got involved in the door

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knocking and talking to people. It has really enthused the Labour Party

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membership and the Co-op party membership. But I think it will also

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do is hopefully in those more of the community to get involved. We have

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found some people on the doorstep you are not quite sure about the

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Metro Mayor but we are starting to get quite pointed questions asked of

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us and so we should. I think we're in this position now because the

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Conservative government have made a right hash of negotiations with the

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Europeans, they have put their demands on the floor, on the table

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and the European Union has said, we are not having that. 27 countries

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have said we do not want that. Are you the person who can actually

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mediate between the difficult political exchanges that there will

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be? Well, I have been a trade unionist for 30 years now and one of

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my fortes is trying to solve problems, to bring people together

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and I can demonstrate how I have done that. You would do that with

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the Conservatives as well? Absolutely. I have worked with them

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as a local councillor. Aaron Foot. I think it is overshadowing it. We are

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trying to get the message out of what the Metro Mayor is an people do

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not know what it will involve, the powers that it will give us here in

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the region and I think if we can try and engage with people and get the

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fact that we will be taking on transport and housing and taking on

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education and things like that, it would be an important message. It

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has been overshadowed now by a government that wants a second

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referendum technically on a General Election and I feel that the Tories

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want to have a bigger mandate to have a soft Brexit. They don't want

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to have a higher Brexit and they probably don't even want to have a

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Brexit, they want to try and get the hard Brexiteers daily to down and

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that is why they are pushing forward is to try and increase the majority

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and I think it has been overshadowing the selection. You are

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in favour of hard Brexit? I am a true Brexiteer. I would like to see

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powers back to the people. Thank you. Let's take our next question

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and it is from Richard Jordan. Good evening. What I would like to ask is

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why do we need another Mayor with all the attendant staff and costs

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and expenses? Particularly as the proposed Mayor does not include the

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whole of the Greater Bristol area. Thank you for your question. Let's

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talk to the Deputy Leader of North Somerset Council. North Somerset

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have decided not to be part of the new Metro Mayor set up. Why is that?

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Why aren't you joining not. I have to agree with the previous bigger.

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We can see no reason for a Metro Mayor. We have worked perfectly well

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with our colleagues in Bristol and South Gloucestershire. We have been

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part of the West of England partnership. We worked on joint

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transport, we have never had a quarrel in the ten years we have

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been doing it and we have made real progress. There is ?1 billion of

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government money over 30 years. That money, that part remains the same

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but North Somerset is not part of it. Fine, we don't have a problem

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with that because at the end of the day, the other local authorities are

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going to have to borrow a great deal more than that

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to be able to do things and we wouldn't want to be part of the

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debt. Can I make one other point and that is that it is naive to think

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that a Metro Mayor is going to tell the government what to do, the

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government, whatever party it is, will tell the Metro Mayor what to do

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or they will not give the money they think they are getting. Stephen

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Williams, do you agree? I don't. It is a big mistake to opt out of this

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arrangement and I think the residents will regret it perhaps

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before their political leaders. In order to make this region work,

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whoever is elected to this position will have to have a good

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constructive relationship with all of our neighbours, certainly with

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North Somerset but also with the historic county of Somerset,

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Wiltshire and Gloucestershire as well. With the Welsh Government on

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some issues as well, in order to rebalance the power of

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decision-making away from our overcentralised system of government

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that we have had for so long, to establishing strong leadership in

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this region. The ?62,000 a year salary, is that

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the beginning of it or is there more money? The important thing is it

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actually makes somebody accountable for the investment and

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opportunities, clearly defined in what those powers are. For us to be

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able to start delivering for the region. The whole point of having a

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regional mayors that we actually realise where there are strategic

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roles, housing, transport, jobs and skill challenges, that allow us to

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think collectively by working with our leaders to come up with those

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solutions. That has to be done in a constructive way. It's one of the

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things that has come out very much... It's another layer of

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management, isn't it? The Tories are taking out managers from the NHS,

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and putting them in. This is another layer? It's about making somebody

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directly responsible for those strategic decisions, and somebody

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who was then working with our leaders who are here this evening,

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somebody who will have that skill and experience and expertise. That's

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worth the extra money? None of us here on the stage today make any

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decisions about the salary. Darren Hall, we have had a lot of anger

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from viewers about this. Saying, what on earth do we need this

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position for? I think, I have to say that North Somerset have made a

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mistake. I agree, that in not being part of it, and the reason why is

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that this area works as a system. Economists will talk about it as a

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functional market area. People commute in and out of Bristol.

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Because that is the way the system works. If you look at housing and

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transport, part of the problem is because we have tried to break it

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up. At the heart of some of the problems that are faced by this

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functional market area. I'm pretty sure that by the time we get round

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to, in four years' time, the voters of North Somerset will be saying to

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their counsel, we had to be part of this agreement. We are being left

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out. And you have said you will do it for half the money? What I have

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said is that, why should I be paid more than the average of the region,

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to highlight the fact that the average wage in this region is

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around about ?30,000 a year. Its link to housing. If you want to try

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to get a mortgage, four times ?30,000 a year does not enable you

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to buy a house in this region. I don't think the average is dirty, I

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think it's less. We have some other council leaders in our audience

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tonight. -- I don't think the average is 30. The newly elected

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Mayor of Bristol, are you worried that you might be big footed by one

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of these guys? I'm not worried at all. What I need to hear from the

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candidates are some clarity over how they see this position, relating to

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the existing leaders of the authority. And the sovereignty

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within our own authorities now. I have been concerned that some of the

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language talks about coming in, being in charge, even just now I

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have had a number of candidates talk about their relationship to

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government with no reference to the existing authorities. We have an

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elected ads leaders of our area with a mandate. I have said, one of the

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most important qualities of the Metro Mayor will be a emotional

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intelligence. Four of us, in terms of combined authority. We have

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developed a coherent set of relationships. What we are saying,

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anyone who comes in, you can't come in like a big but because actually,

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we are here. If you disturb those relationships, it will cause a

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problem. You will have to be very smart about this. One thing I

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learned today is that you three will be the vice Metro Mayor. Of course.

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I have been elected to Bristol, Tim has been elected to Baines, Matthew

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is elected in self authorship. We are elected to run our authorities.

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-- in South Gloucestershire. This is not just about legislative powers.

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The areas over which you have control are quite limited. I want to

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come back to the other two as well. But we must go back to the

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candidates. Lesley Mansell, your thoughts? What I'm seeing on the

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doorstep, people are sick of authority. They are struggling to

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find decent housing and having to deal with the inequality in the job

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market. The daily commute. This is an opportunity to bring somebody in

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who will work with the three authorities, as Marvin Rees has just

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outlined, to try and get a better deal not just for one group within

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the area but with everyone in the area. John Savage? This conversation

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just proves that this is not a job for a conventional politician. It's

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wrong. I must say, I absolutely understand the point about

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respecting the other elected people. It is absolutely right. This is a

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job to make it work. Let's be fair, you say you work together. You have

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all over 30 years, and I in my business group have tried to do

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things, failed to have ambition. If you have failed to do enough. You

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have! By our standards, if it was not for my group, we would not have

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developed harbour-side, we would not have gotten the shopping centre. You

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are too slow. I admit that it is not about bossing you around, but you

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need is support. I've been elected for one year. Let's talk to Tim

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Warren and Matthew Riddle. Do you accept that? You have been slow and

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you need a mature man to come along? That's total rubbish. -- you need to

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a Metro Mayor. We are a team. We get on well. Three of us sitting at this

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table. We are conservatives, Marvin is Labour. You would not know. We

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want to move things on. I don't know if anyone knows how the voting

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system works, but Mayor cannot come along and dictate. They will have to

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work with us. Will you be able to get along? I think there is one

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point, by the sound of it. I'm happy to work with anybody to advance the

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South Gloucestershire and the West of England. Whoever is elected, we

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will work closely and meaningfully with anybody to make this work.

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Aaron Foot? I think you're quite right. It's about facilitating a

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roll and listening to the people, working with leaders of all three

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areas. We can't forget North Somerset. They are still in this

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area, it has Bristol Airport and Avonmouth. We can't forget them. We

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have to work and facilitate the role. This is where direct democracy

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comes in. Why would you facilitate North Somerset when they don't want

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to join in? Because they are still part of the greater area. You still

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have to listen to them. We had to work as a coherent team. You would

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like more referendums? Yes, I would like more say. What sort of

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referendum? It depends what people want. More bus services, cheaper bus

:20:59.:21:05.

services, no park and ride in Bathampton Meadows? Let's have our

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say. Tim? My whole philosophy and everything I have done in work,

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socially and politics, has been about working together. That is the

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only way we do get good results. I am very lucky to have worked with

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Matthew and him very closely for a long time. I know they work closely

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with Marvin, and I know they get, from everything I hear, they work

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really well together. It is critical that somebody joins you as a team,

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and works together will stop by doing that, we will get the right

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decisions on this key things, transport and housing. You could

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work with them. Could you also work with a Labour government? Yes,

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because ultimately we will be going along on behalf of everybody here.

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In this room. With these three leaders, to make our case for the

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right things for the future of the West of England. Stephen Williams.

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You need to be a diplomat for this job. You have to get along with

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these people and the government. And put the West country's case. They

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have been less than flattering about some of your opponents? You do have

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to be a diplomat in order to make a success of this job. In all the time

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I have been politics, I have worked with people from other parties.

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Going right back to when I was a very young councillor in the early

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90s. I worked with Labour, Conservatives. Can you remind us of

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your words about some of your fellow candidates? One of the things I

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think the public are looking for in this election is, can they spot a

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candidate who has got ideas about what they want to do? Can they

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communicate what they want to do? It's really an insult to the

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electorate, putting them up. That's what you said. You've never seen

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such a... I use the word. I can tell you. Some of the party members of

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the Labour candidates are even more disparaging to me in person about

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their choice of candidate. I was simply reflecting that. In this job,

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you have to work with people across political parties and I have done

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that including a national government. Let's turn out to some

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of the key powers that one of these candidates will have. Just a quick

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show of hands, in the audience. How many of you came here by bus

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tonight? I thought it might be. We have got one. I did not know there

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was a boss running here. I don't know how you did it, but well done.

:23:32.:23:35.

That brings us neatly to the subject of transport. Here is false report

:23:36.:23:44.

from Robin Markwell. -- here is our first report. Westman, what West

:23:45.:23:55.

Mayor? Do you know about that, the Metro Mayor? The Metro Mayor. No.

:23:56.:24:02.

Some of the cab drivers at Bristol Temple Meads were still in the dark

:24:03.:24:06.

over this new politician. Yet he or she will play a key role in tackling

:24:07.:24:09.

some of the worst gridlock the country. What the traffic like here?

:24:10.:24:15.

Horrendous. Very poor. Very hard to drive around. 40 years I've been a

:24:16.:24:20.

cabbie. Last five or six years, it's been a nightmare. The winning

:24:21.:24:24.

candidate will have to devise a transport plan for the region. They

:24:25.:24:28.

will have control over key roads as well. That could mean a clean air

:24:29.:24:32.

zone all a congestion charge. There is power over the buses. Handing out

:24:33.:24:38.

franchises, if operators fail. What you think of public transport?

:24:39.:24:43.

Really awful. Nothing is on time. The standard of service? No. There

:24:44.:24:49.

don't seem to be enough buses and you can't actually tell when they

:24:50.:24:53.

are going to arrive. The timing is bad. The price is increasing. It's

:24:54.:25:01.

not great. It used to be 70p for a ticket, then 80p, then a pound, then

:25:02.:25:05.

?1 20. It's going up too much. This government is ripping us off! Along

:25:06.:25:11.

with the power comes money. A promise of 30 million a year for 30

:25:12.:25:14.

years to spend on infrastructure. Then there's the chance to raise

:25:15.:25:17.

more by increasing taxes on business. So who can get our region

:25:18.:25:23.

moving again? Now that is the billion pound question. Thanks to

:25:24.:25:32.

Robin and our next question. On transport, that comes from Becky

:25:33.:25:37.

Farmer. Good evening. I appreciate that there is no easy solution to

:25:38.:25:43.

traffic congestion. If we need to get more traffic of our roads, why

:25:44.:25:48.

can't we invest in an underground metro system? A tube, you mean? That

:25:49.:25:57.

would be ambitious. John Savage? There are two things, in particular,

:25:58.:26:03.

the cost. A tube would be enormously expensive. Our peculiar and

:26:04.:26:10.

wonderful geography would make it quite difficult. It's a nice idea

:26:11.:26:13.

but don't think it is the answer. There are answers, the existing work

:26:14.:26:17.

that is being done is laudable. It goes some way to making change. But

:26:18.:26:22.

there are other answers. I think I saw this tube, a tram, to certain

:26:23.:26:27.

parts would be very useful. There are some other tricks. We do not

:26:28.:26:34.

have public transport in England, in the UK, and we have to find ways of

:26:35.:26:37.

making public transport more accessible. I do not think there is

:26:38.:26:41.

any point in punishing car drivers, but we might use the car drivers

:26:42.:26:46.

requirement to use their vehicle to help us pay for a system that would

:26:47.:26:50.

get more people. A congestion charge. How would you get motorists

:26:51.:26:57.

to pay? The guy we supported that. What we said was, the alternative

:26:58.:27:00.

must be in place first. You talked of having a tram? Yes, there are

:27:01.:27:06.

some obvious routes. How would you pay? From a combination of

:27:07.:27:12.

investment, I think we would have a congestion charge. In the end, yes.

:27:13.:27:20.

You haven't got the power is as much magic do that? A lot of this is

:27:21.:27:26.

about negotiating new ways, change, a vision about how things should be

:27:27.:27:29.

different. If we keep doing the same things we will get the same answers.

:27:30.:27:34.

Lesley Mansell? In actual fact, there is already money coming into

:27:35.:27:38.

this region to try to deal with the congestion. It has gone to the

:27:39.:27:41.

authorities already mentioned. Some of that is about trying to get

:27:42.:27:44.

people out of cars and onto public transport. What public transport?

:27:45.:27:50.

There is lots we need to do about it. For example, make it greener so

:27:51.:27:54.

it is less polluting. For me, we have to start thinking outside the

:27:55.:27:57.

box. If we are going to make big changes, I think we should bring in

:27:58.:28:02.

more flexible working. Not just about public authorities, but

:28:03.:28:05.

businesses doing that as well. That could make a real difference. I

:28:06.:28:08.

worked on a project at Bristol council a few years ago, one of the

:28:09.:28:12.

big things to come out of that was the opening of the library on a

:28:13.:28:19.

Sunday. It benefited an awful lot of people. I think if we have flexible

:28:20.:28:22.

work we can make a lot of difference. On the actual

:28:23.:28:24.

infrastructure, what would you do as a Labour candidate?

:28:25.:28:29.

I would fill in the pot holes for a start. If you are psychos, it is a

:28:30.:28:39.

nightmare. I thought you wanted underground trance. -- if you are a

:28:40.:28:47.

psychologist. In Nottingham and they levied a charge on people parking at

:28:48.:28:51.

work and what they did was they provided their service with that. I

:28:52.:28:55.

think that will be something that will be looked at. You would look at

:28:56.:29:00.

a tram system? There are lots of things we would look up but it would

:29:01.:29:04.

depend what would work in different areas. Maybe that would work. I must

:29:05.:29:14.

rush on. The only applause we have got is when you mentioned potholes.

:29:15.:29:24.

Tim. Unfortunately, potholes will not fall under the remit of the

:29:25.:29:28.

Mayor. The really important thing here. You could put the money into

:29:29.:29:34.

pothole repairs. I know that our councils are investing a lot of

:29:35.:29:37.

money in pothole repairs and I am not going to talk about that. Tell

:29:38.:29:42.

me what you would do with public transport. We have to look at the

:29:43.:29:46.

region, underground I don't think it will solve challenges. To solve

:29:47.:29:52.

those problems, we need to have a whole host of integrated transport.

:29:53.:29:58.

And the key again will be working with our council leaders and with

:29:59.:30:02.

business importantly. Who would pay for it and what would it look like?

:30:03.:30:08.

I am happy to go on to that. In different areas we will need

:30:09.:30:13.

different solutions. We do need to invest in rail taking people off the

:30:14.:30:18.

roads, improves air quality and improves our journey times. We need

:30:19.:30:22.

to invest in what I call pinch points to look at how traffic flows.

:30:23.:30:27.

When there is no one on the roads and I touched on this in an event

:30:28.:30:31.

last week, during school holidays, transport is a lot easier. We need

:30:32.:30:35.

to look up where those pinch points are and

:30:36.:30:52.

invest in in the new strategic roads that we need to take that traffic

:30:53.:30:56.

away and keep things moving. It needs to be a combination of new

:30:57.:30:59.

rail, improved bus services, strategically and key road networks.

:31:00.:31:01.

What about the congestion charge? No. It is not falling under our

:31:02.:31:03.

remit. Stephen Williams. Candidates have to promise something realistic

:31:04.:31:05.

and I do not think an underground system is realistic in our area but

:31:06.:31:08.

there are lots of things we could do and we have missed out from doing in

:31:09.:31:12.

the past. We need to make our buses more efficient by moving away from

:31:13.:31:17.

pain by coins and notes to a cashless system so that you speed

:31:18.:31:21.

them up along the main arterial roads. That will help contribute to

:31:22.:31:28.

better air quality as well. There are railway stations that could be

:31:29.:31:36.

reopened. And I am in favour of the clean air zone, air quality ought to

:31:37.:31:40.

be a public health, it is a public health disaster and it ought to be a

:31:41.:31:47.

major issue in this election. What about a congestion charge would you

:31:48.:31:50.

ban diesels? Diesel is the problem because of the fine matter that is

:31:51.:31:54.

admitted by diesel vehicles that deeply penetrate your lungs and the

:31:55.:31:59.

NHS now says causes more premature deaths in our region than people who

:32:00.:32:02.

are killed in road traffic accidents. I used to campaign

:32:03.:32:05.

against tobacco, everyone gets up reading in tobacco

:32:06.:32:33.

is bad for you and causes respiratory problems. Diesels, you

:32:34.:32:35.

have not got the powers, but you could negotiate and try to ban them?

:32:36.:32:38.

What I said in my manifesto is that this is an example whether regional

:32:39.:32:40.

Mayor working with the council leaders would ask central government

:32:41.:32:43.

for the ability to raise a charge of commercial vehicles especially or to

:32:44.:32:45.

move to cleaner fuels. Darren Hall, this is your specialist subject.

:32:46.:32:48.

What would you do? One point to say, thank you Becky for being so

:32:49.:32:50.

ambitious in raising something that big and that is what we need, we

:32:51.:32:52.

need big ideas for transport, because our thinking is as

:32:53.:32:56.

gridlocked as our roads at the moment. What we have is a road

:32:57.:33:00.

system with other bits of transport bolted on, so beware of politicians

:33:01.:33:07.

bringing bold promises to meetings like this, because the reality is

:33:08.:33:11.

over the next four years, this will be about setting a slight change in

:33:12.:33:16.

direction of travel, so those cashless payment systems, I have

:33:17.:33:20.

been to see about bringing in cleaner buses, but what we really

:33:21.:33:26.

should be talking about is a transport revolution that looks at

:33:27.:33:30.

the system which is based around non-car travel. And renew plea

:33:31.:33:33.

powered automated vehicles, we should be looking 20 or 30 years

:33:34.:33:40.

out. Is there anything you could deliver in your first 100 days? Yes,

:33:41.:33:46.

I think there are a few things. Give me one example. We must aim to have

:33:47.:33:51.

that cashless system across all the buses in the entire region. I

:33:52.:33:55.

understand that that is very nearly available. If we have just got the

:33:56.:34:01.

will to get all of the bus companies talking to each other. Aaron Foot. I

:34:02.:34:06.

think we need to look at transport. It is strangling businesses here in

:34:07.:34:09.

the West and it is also not making us want to go out or Explorer. We

:34:10.:34:16.

have bus networks that don't really work. What is the answer? The answer

:34:17.:34:24.

is a coherent system. We cannot penalised diesel cars. We have had

:34:25.:34:33.

incentives to use diesels. We shouldn't be penalising diesel cars

:34:34.:34:37.

because that is what we were told to use. You want to end the war on the

:34:38.:34:42.

motorist. We want a coherent system, traffic lights that integrate with

:34:43.:34:48.

the next set, roundabouts that actually work and not stalling card.

:34:49.:34:52.

If we can get people moving and reduce congestion, then we will

:34:53.:34:58.

reduce smog and pollution. General question for you all, you will have

:34:59.:35:01.

some authority over the buses, you will have the power to nationalise

:35:02.:35:06.

the bus services if you so wanted to do so. Who would be in favour of a

:35:07.:35:15.

radical change on the buses? John Savage, yes? Would you bring them

:35:16.:35:19.

in-house? I would get them to work better and I would make sure that we

:35:20.:35:25.

looked at the possibility. Leslie, is that nationalisation on your

:35:26.:35:31.

agenda? Absolutely. I would like to see bus companies like in London.

:35:32.:35:35.

They have a mixed system and that is what we need to look at. The other

:35:36.:35:39.

thing we need to look that is free bus passes for young people, 16-19,

:35:40.:35:45.

it is a burden for them, some having to give up college courses. You

:35:46.:35:51.

would subsidise that. Yes. What about the 15-year-olds? The would

:35:52.:35:56.

pay. Young people having to stay at school until they are 18 so they

:35:57.:36:00.

should be subsidised and have free passes. The more people who use

:36:01.:36:04.

buses, the cheaper it gets for everyone. It works as a system and

:36:05.:36:10.

that is the key point. How many of you use the bus? Hands up. A couple

:36:11.:36:17.

of honest people. Thank you. If just joining us, you might have guessed,

:36:18.:36:22.

this is not Question Time and I am not David Dimbleby, sadly, but

:36:23.:36:25.

tonight we are hosting a special debate dedicated to the elections

:36:26.:36:30.

for the West's first Mayor on the 4th of May. This Mayor will be

:36:31.:36:35.

responsible for Bristol, Bath and North East Somerset. You can join in

:36:36.:36:40.

the debate on Twitter. This Mayor will also have an important role in

:36:41.:36:45.

delivering the homes we need. Here is again. -- here is Rob and again.

:36:46.:36:55.

If you want to see the scale of our housing crisis, head over the bridge

:36:56.:37:01.

to Wales and there you will meet people priced out of the West's

:37:02.:37:08.

booming property market. Specialist heart nurse Joanne Dow used to live

:37:09.:37:12.

in Bradley Stoke but rising rents forced to move back. As a public

:37:13.:37:19.

sector worker, it was really hard to make ends meet, especially as a

:37:20.:37:23.

parent with two children. Her monthly weren't went up ?200 in two

:37:24.:37:29.

years and she downsized twice before giving up. She moved her job to a

:37:30.:37:34.

hospital in Wales. I think it is wrong that the landlords just put

:37:35.:37:39.

the rent up so much. If you did have to move because you could not afford

:37:40.:37:44.

to stay where you are going, their houses go so quickly. People are not

:37:45.:37:49.

actually viewing them, they are just taking them up straightaway. House

:37:50.:37:58.

prices rose 10% in Bristol last year. Bath was not far behind. They

:37:59.:38:03.

haven't built enough property for a very long time to satisfy demand and

:38:04.:38:10.

what they may have built is not enough and not always in the right

:38:11.:38:15.

locations or if it is in the right locations, not enough infrastructure

:38:16.:38:23.

as well. But the housing has to go somewhere. The green fields around

:38:24.:38:26.

Thornbury have caught the eye of developers but plans to double the

:38:27.:38:31.

size of the town have angered residents. Developers feel they have

:38:32.:38:34.

got the green light now to come here and they are circling like hyenas

:38:35.:38:38.

around the lucrative plots and it is proper driven. The type of houses

:38:39.:38:45.

being built here are speculative development largely sold under the

:38:46.:38:48.

banner of three to five bedroom executive housing for commuter

:38:49.:38:51.

traffic. This West Mayor will help decide how many homes we need and

:38:52.:38:55.

where they go. But with limited Brownfield sites and plenty of green

:38:56.:38:59.

belts, the winner faces an unenviable task. This is so

:39:00.:39:06.

important to many of you and we had a lot of questions on housing from

:39:07.:39:10.

our viewers and indeed, from the audience here. We had to pick one

:39:11.:39:15.

and we came up with Mary Walsh. Hello. New homes are desperately

:39:16.:39:24.

needed. I ask, will he ever is elected Mayor commit to protecting

:39:25.:39:32.

our green belts and so protecting small villages around Bath and

:39:33.:39:38.

Bristol? That is important to you. Yes it is. We shall we start with,

:39:39.:39:46.

Aaron Foot from Ukip? As a farmer, I see how valuable green and open

:39:47.:39:50.

spaces are. I will protect them, they need protective or mental

:39:51.:39:53.

well-being and for why lie. It is there for us to enjoy, we should not

:39:54.:39:57.

be putting concrete on them. But we have a housing crisis in the West

:39:58.:40:01.

Country. I feel we should work together with all the leaders and

:40:02.:40:05.

look at building upwards, not ours. We should also work with the people

:40:06.:40:09.

of the West Country and find Brownfield sites and see where

:40:10.:40:12.

developers are not building on them. Developers are

:40:13.:40:23.

refusing to on Brownfield sites because it is too costly. We need to

:40:24.:40:27.

work together as a group and work and put pressure on the developers.

:40:28.:40:30.

John Savage. It is an obscenity that there are so many people who cannot

:40:31.:40:32.

find somewhere to live and that is the basis for doing anything in your

:40:33.:40:35.

life. It is a perfect example of the fact that for 30 years or more we

:40:36.:40:38.

have not built on of houses. They are not blaming these guys. They

:40:39.:40:41.

should not take it personally, they have been around for two or three

:40:42.:40:44.

years, I have dealt with councillors were 30 years but it is an

:40:45.:40:48.

obscenity, it is a basic need and I am

:40:49.:41:10.

talking to developers who understand that there is this terrible

:41:11.:41:13.

conundrum about building on grass and they are prepared to do

:41:14.:41:16.

different deals. They are prepared to work with us to make changes. But

:41:17.:41:19.

you would build on the green belt? I would build firstly wherever we

:41:20.:41:21.

could find land that is easy to develop. In the end, we will have to

:41:22.:41:24.

build on some grass, but the mistake I would not make is just building

:41:25.:41:27.

houses. We have to build hold communities. We have to provide

:41:28.:41:29.

doctors surgeries, libraries and play feels and so on and there is

:41:30.:41:31.

talk about just building houses and that is wrong and it comes from a

:41:32.:41:34.

complete lack of vision. Have you got any green belt in mind that

:41:35.:41:37.

this? There are pieces of grass that we could build on, running

:41:38.:41:39.

north-east and South West without actually building into the wetlands.

:41:40.:41:44.

Let's face it, if you look at the map of Bristol in 1830 and see the

:41:45.:41:48.

way it was built up and you look at it in 2000, it has changed and it

:41:49.:41:53.

will go on changing because people come here. Tim Bowles. Do you agree

:41:54.:41:59.

with John Savage that actually there is green land around and why do we

:42:00.:42:04.

build on it? I agree with the question of what we have got to be

:42:05.:42:09.

doing is actually protecting our villages, protecting our existing

:42:10.:42:13.

communities. The answer as I see it is for our focus on the region,

:42:14.:42:18.

working with our council leaders, is to be bringing those Brownfield

:42:19.:42:22.

sites to market, working with developers, working with the council

:42:23.:42:25.

leaders, developing a housing development fund that will actually

:42:26.:42:30.

help us start speeding is up. What sort of target would you have with

:42:31.:42:40.

the number of homes? The joint strategic plan is looking at 105,000

:42:41.:42:43.

homes over the next 20 year period and that is what we would he looking

:42:44.:42:46.

to. Obviously you will go to the Brownfield sites, you will go there

:42:47.:42:50.

first, of course you would, but if it came to it, would you say that if

:42:51.:42:55.

they field that would make a useful contribution to our housing needs?

:42:56.:43:00.

We have to be building where the homes are going to be close to jobs,

:43:01.:43:05.

close to communities, where we are able to build on that. Where we can

:43:06.:43:11.

provide the infrastructure. On the green belt? The priority will be

:43:12.:43:18.

developing the Brownfield. We have said that. Then we will work with

:43:19.:43:22.

council leaders on identifying the other sites that we can bring to

:43:23.:43:24.

market. Lesley Mansell, is the green belt

:43:25.:43:33.

precious to you, or could it be used by people who need him? I live in a

:43:34.:43:37.

village and the development I have seen around me is lots of houses but

:43:38.:43:41.

not enough social housing. That's a real problem. Where building lots of

:43:42.:43:46.

houses but quite often people are not living in them. If you look at

:43:47.:43:51.

the harbour-side development down in Bristol, people in Malaysia,

:43:52.:43:54.

business people there sought a great investment it was. But what we're

:43:55.:43:58.

finding is people can't afford those properties. Prices are not so much

:43:59.:44:01.

in this area that you need to have 12 times your earnings to be able to

:44:02.:44:06.

afford one. APPLAUSE What would you do? I would look at

:44:07.:44:15.

the rental sector. Putting caps on rent. They are going sky-high. What

:44:16.:44:22.

we also find is the quality of renting property is quite poor in

:44:23.:44:28.

some places. I would work with a developing agency, who are

:44:29.:44:30.

developing a fair rental Charteris of people have a decent home to live

:44:31.:44:35.

in. Not just one they can afford. -- rental charter. If you actually cap

:44:36.:44:42.

rents, would that mean the supply of rented accommodation would go down?

:44:43.:44:46.

I'm not sure it would in Bristol. We have a situation where over the last

:44:47.:44:52.

15 years, the rate of home ownership has reduced to 52%. That's colossal.

:44:53.:44:57.

There's a huge demand for rented accommodation. That's why you need

:44:58.:45:02.

more. Absolutely, but we need more social housing as well. Over the

:45:03.:45:05.

last year, Marvin Rees who was not yet been met for a year has already

:45:06.:45:09.

committed to build council houses. We have seen that in Stroud were a

:45:10.:45:13.

Labour council is building social housing. What we have not seen is

:45:14.:45:16.

the Tories doing that all the Lib doing that. And on the green belt?

:45:17.:45:25.

What we need to look at is the quality green belt, and then if we

:45:26.:45:29.

do build on it, to build... To make sure we have something to appraise

:45:30.:45:35.

that. So if necessary, you would, if it meant getting it housing the

:45:36.:45:38.

element of the ground? There's another issue we saw in Radstock

:45:39.:45:41.

weather was a developments, they came in, the builders were going to

:45:42.:45:45.

do all sorts, as soon as they got planning applications they change

:45:46.:45:48.

their minds. You'd want to make sure developers were held to what they

:45:49.:45:52.

say they are going to do. APPLAUSE Stephen Williams. I think everyone

:45:53.:45:57.

agrees there should be a presumption that you build on Brownfield land.

:45:58.:46:02.

That in itself is an obvious political statement. How do you

:46:03.:46:07.

develop that land, you develop it intensively. In some cities that

:46:08.:46:12.

means high rises, in places such as bar. Where that might not be

:46:13.:46:16.

suitable, but rather places such as Bath. In Bath? I'm saying, you

:46:17.:46:26.

shouldn't build them in Bath. The Victorians got it right. That's why

:46:27.:46:32.

you should use urban land. But the housing market at the moment, towns

:46:33.:46:36.

like Thornbury feel a certain type of housing is being built. That does

:46:37.:46:40.

not serve the local community. I would say, that the four members of

:46:41.:46:46.

the command authority, this is a pure example of one all of us will

:46:47.:46:52.

have to agree. Balanced and sustainable communities means single

:46:53.:46:56.

bedroom units, two bedroom units. Families and single people can

:46:57.:46:59.

aspire to live in their hometown. You also have got to get the

:47:00.:47:02.

transport right. There is no point in expanding Thornbury or Yates, or

:47:03.:47:07.

piece down St John, if people cannot get the bus along a 38 to get to

:47:08.:47:12.

work in Bristol or elsewhere. We have got to plan holistically.

:47:13.:47:15.

APPLAUSE I'm going to pursue as I did the

:47:16.:47:20.

others. Would you build on the green belt? I don't think it is necessary,

:47:21.:47:23.

as long as you build in towns and put infrastructure in the same place

:47:24.:47:28.

at the same time. As I have said in my manifesto, in Thornbury there is

:47:29.:47:31.

a freight railway line we should reopen. Darren Hall? I think we

:47:32.:47:38.

actually need to change the conversation. With great respect to

:47:39.:47:44.

my colleague, it's... Please answer the question! The thing is, the

:47:45.:47:48.

question is about using the market to build more of the same. Executive

:47:49.:47:52.

homes on the green belt that they can sell for half a million. We have

:47:53.:47:55.

this slightly bizarre government idea that if we can reduce the price

:47:56.:48:00.

of these things by 20%, it suddenly makes them affordable. That is not

:48:01.:48:04.

affordable housing. The only way we are going to solve some of the

:48:05.:48:08.

social housing crisis that we have is by building social housing. I'm

:48:09.:48:12.

on the board of the community land trust, the way we make that

:48:13.:48:17.

affordable is the shared ownership. We have to change the nature of this

:48:18.:48:21.

conversation. We don't need to build on the green belt. I will say

:48:22.:48:25.

another thing. What is great about the green belt campaign is coming

:48:26.:48:29.

forward is that they have ideas for Brownfield sites that could work. I

:48:30.:48:37.

spoke to the Hanham green belt group and said anyone can come up with an

:48:38.:48:42.

idea. It's persuading people to have them on their own doorstep, isn't

:48:43.:48:47.

it? It's about who you're asking to build the herbs. If you go to

:48:48.:48:51.

developers say we would like you to build here, they will say no. I

:48:52.:48:55.

really want to support what Marvin is doing a Bristol now. We will

:48:56.:48:59.

build houses for ourselves. On our own land. Social housing, affordable

:49:00.:49:05.

housing through community land trusts and housing associations. To

:49:06.:49:08.

radically change the system. APPLAUSE

:49:09.:49:13.

Last word with Aaron Foot. You say you want to prioritise social

:49:14.:49:16.

housing or low-cost housing for local people. What does that mean?

:49:17.:49:23.

Whose local? Local people who were priced out of villages, towns, even

:49:24.:49:26.

Bristol and Bath. People from generations that cannot afford

:49:27.:49:30.

houses. I wondered when I read that, does that mean no migrants? It

:49:31.:49:35.

doesn't mean that. It means we should be looking after our people

:49:36.:49:38.

that are born in our towns and Burgess first. We should be housing

:49:39.:49:43.

them in flats, smaller houses. We should not be building a least three

:49:44.:49:46.

and four beds. We need to restart the small housing scheme and held on

:49:47.:49:53.

Brownfield sites. Time is flying. Leslie, one last word. In Bristol

:49:54.:49:58.

there are 7000 planning applications gone through and nothing has

:49:59.:50:01.

happened with them. In veins there are 4000. But Roker in Bains. There

:50:02.:50:11.

have lots delay occurred been lots of applications but nothing

:50:12.:50:14.

happening. You can't force developers? Its pricing people out.

:50:15.:50:21.

I have already set out what I want to do, looking at capping rents to

:50:22.:50:24.

make sure we build more social housing so people can have access to

:50:25.:50:28.

it. Thank you. Our final question comes from Catherine. Hi. We hear a

:50:29.:50:38.

lot in the media and from politicians about the Northern

:50:39.:50:41.

powerhouse and the Midlands engine. Yet the West of England has got the

:50:42.:50:45.

most successful economy anywhere outside of London in the UK. As the

:50:46.:50:50.

first West of England Metro Mayor, what would you do to raise the

:50:51.:50:54.

region 's profile and what would you call the region? What would you do

:50:55.:51:00.

to raise the profile and what would you call our region? Who wants to go

:51:01.:51:02.

first? All I will go for it. This is at the heart of one of the

:51:03.:51:16.

most important roles of the mayor of the West of England, the vision and

:51:17.:51:20.

strategy, over the horizon thinking that we need for this area. The

:51:21.:51:24.

government are making it all about economic growth. Whereas I think one

:51:25.:51:29.

of the most important aspects for asked to show leadership is to make

:51:30.:51:33.

this region one of the most equal in the UK. In a more equal society,

:51:34.:51:40.

everyone does better. But, I think the real opportunity in the West of

:51:41.:51:45.

England to use our engineering expertise, our legal expertise, I

:51:46.:51:48.

financial expertise, is to lead the world in the next generation of

:51:49.:51:52.

smart urban living. I would like to see us being the gateway city, so

:51:53.:51:57.

that's where I would start. APPLAUSE A reminder, all of the money coming

:51:58.:52:01.

from the government is conditional on their being economic growth as a

:52:02.:52:08.

result. So you would be prepared to promote economic growth? We know

:52:09.:52:13.

that trickle-down doesn't work. We have to talk about... We have to

:52:14.:52:17.

talk about prosperity. Meaning more than just profit and GDP. Otherwise,

:52:18.:52:23.

we have got to get beyond that. That is one area where I think we have to

:52:24.:52:27.

challenge the government and actually, the people of Bristol and

:52:28.:52:34.

Bath agree with that. You have made that point. Just a three-day

:52:35.:52:39.

weekend, would we get that? In the green manifesto. Productivity goes

:52:40.:52:45.

up when we work less hard. John Savage? This is the point. We are in

:52:46.:52:51.

competition with cities in Europe who may not be our friends very

:52:52.:52:56.

soon. We are in competition with our own big cities and yet we have been

:52:57.:52:59.

the most successful city region outside of London for donkeys years.

:53:00.:53:03.

We still do not perform well enough. There is nothing wrong with profit.

:53:04.:53:08.

Appropriate profit works, it pays for your pensions. But we have to

:53:09.:53:11.

have an understanding of how we can make it work for everyone. I

:53:12.:53:15.

absolutely believe that everybody should benefit. It is about the

:53:16.:53:19.

economy. We have the best chance of improving the economy of a place in

:53:20.:53:23.

the UK of any place here. And yet, we play at it. It is the answer. We

:53:24.:53:28.

must push what we are good at and push it hard. So we have the best

:53:29.:53:33.

chance of improving the economy of a place in the UK of any place here.

:53:34.:53:37.

And yet, we play at it. It is the answer. We must push what we are

:53:38.:53:40.

good at and push it hard. So we had to sell it into our own country and

:53:41.:53:43.

into Europe and the world. It's called the west of England,

:53:44.:53:45.

therefore the West of England. Can you think of something more snappy

:53:46.:53:48.

than that? It's not the whole west and actually. Lots of the Westerman

:53:49.:53:50.

and is not included in this. That's the conundrum. It's Greater Bristol

:53:51.:54:02.

Bath, isn't it? My authorities in Manchester -- nine authorities in

:54:03.:54:05.

Manchester got together and they are happy to call themselves greater

:54:06.:54:07.

Manchester. They're getting on with the job. I think the title is not

:54:08.:54:12.

the most important thing here. The most important thing is thinking

:54:13.:54:15.

about what the Metro Mayor can do with the four local authorities. It

:54:16.:54:20.

isn't just the ferry. There is some are set to consider as well. For me,

:54:21.:54:24.

the big issue is to take this forward while we have to work

:54:25.:54:28.

together. The electric need a clear choice here. Now we have an

:54:29.:54:32.

opportunity to kick out these austerity policies, the once brought

:54:33.:54:34.

in by the Conservative government, and backed up by the Lib Dems in

:54:35.:54:39.

coalition. We have an opportunity to pick prosperity. That's what's

:54:40.:54:42.

happened in Iceland and I think we can do that here as well. We have a

:54:43.:54:46.

massive opportunity to do something different and I think that's what

:54:47.:54:50.

I'm prepared to do. I'm not a career politician, and a person get things

:54:51.:54:54.

done. That's what I will continue to do as much on there. One of the big

:54:55.:55:01.

roles would be as an ambassador. See Donald Trump takes his ride in the

:55:02.:55:03.

Golden carriage at the Moore and says I would like to visit the West

:55:04.:55:09.

of England. Would you meet him? I would absolutely welcome him. When I

:55:10.:55:12.

worked for Bristol City Council I wanted to welcome the President of

:55:13.:55:17.

South Africa, Nelson Mandela. Unfortunately that did not happen

:55:18.:55:20.

but I think I would have been fantastic for our black communities.

:55:21.:55:25.

They are being paid 10% less than white people. But you would shake

:55:26.:55:31.

his hand as an ambassador for the West of England? OK. Tim Bowles. My

:55:32.:55:37.

approach for this role would be about being positive, looking to the

:55:38.:55:39.

future and having to drive our economy forward. By doing that, we

:55:40.:55:44.

would ensure we get the jobs to help everybody throughout the region. In

:55:45.:55:48.

our very diverse economy, so we have lots of things we are really good

:55:49.:55:53.

at. We have got to drive forward the Digital agenda, focus on our

:55:54.:55:57.

high-tech engineering and aerospace hubs. We have got to focus on our

:55:58.:56:01.

small businesses as well. I will make sure we are working on all of

:56:02.:56:05.

those things, delivering that growth will help us then in terms of

:56:06.:56:09.

attracting the extra funding but we all know we need to deliver the

:56:10.:56:13.

transport improvements. As the only person here who is currently working

:56:14.:56:16.

in a leadership role with the council, we have got to remember the

:56:17.:56:20.

key thing to this is working with these guys here. I'm going to Bishoo

:56:21.:56:27.

on the name. I've said all along, it has to be about working with the

:56:28.:56:30.

council leaders. We'll sit down at that out ourselves. That's not very

:56:31.:56:34.

snappy, working with the council leaders! We are a really strong

:56:35.:56:39.

team. That's what I'll be promoting. We'll do that. Come on Stephen, give

:56:40.:56:47.

us a name. The question is right. This region has been overshadowed

:56:48.:56:50.

for far too long compared to other regions which are punched above

:56:51.:56:53.

their weight because they worked together in order to promote their

:56:54.:56:56.

local brand. I used to get fed up with ministerial colleagues in

:56:57.:57:00.

government talking about Silicon roundabout, which is quite a small

:57:01.:57:04.

place in East London. Could you know, the biggest concentration of

:57:05.:57:08.

silicone and high-tech businesses outside California is here? Here in

:57:09.:57:13.

Bristol, Bath and Swindon. That's why we need this position, to get us

:57:14.:57:17.

working together. To have someone who can champion the West of England

:57:18.:57:20.

and say this is what we are great at. To answer your question, Bristol

:57:21.:57:26.

and Bath together, I think could be a powerful world beating brand.

:57:27.:57:30.

Whether you go in the world, somebody has heard of Bristol Bath,

:57:31.:57:33.

I want to bring them closer together. So that's part. Aaron

:57:34.:57:42.

Foot, quickly. I want to bring in the northern powerhouse. But I would

:57:43.:57:45.

look to put the name out to the people. I think the people of the

:57:46.:57:48.

Westerman and you come up with some ideas of a name. And create a brand.

:57:49.:57:53.

Then we can push forward with the West of England. You suggesting a

:57:54.:57:59.

referendum? LAUGHTER I'm not sure we can stand it. No, I'm suggesting

:58:00.:58:04.

democracy. We have technology, let's use it. Thank you all so much. I'm

:58:05.:58:14.

afraid our time is up. My thanks to all our candidates and to our

:58:15.:58:18.

audience here tonight. The debate continues online using our hashtag,

:58:19.:58:21.

West Mare. You can find more information on our website. The West

:58:22.:58:29.

Maverick is being held the same night as the local council election

:58:30.:58:39.

-- the West Mare. If you miss out on the election, don't worry. There

:58:40.:58:44.

will be another one along soon. For now, that's it from us, he at the

:58:45.:58:48.

Bristol and Bath science Park. Thank you very much for watching. Sleep

:58:49.:58:50.

well.

:58:51.:58:55.

David Garmston chairs a political debate featuring the six candidates who want to be the west of England's first mayor. The winner on 4 May will be given powers over transport and housing as well as £30 million a year to spend on infrastructure.