Bristol Business Leaders Gather to Quiz Mayoral Candidates
Over 80 business leaders descended upon Leigh Court to hear from three candidates ahead of the Bristol Mayoral Election in May.
The private event, organised by Business West, the Bristol Junior Chamber (BJC) and the Institute of Directors (IoD) , gave businesses the chance to hear from George Ferguson (Bristol 1st), Marvin Rees (Labour) and Charles Lucas (Conservative).
Chaired by Bristol Chamber of Commerce and Initiative President, Professor Steve West, each candidate was given the opportunity to pitch their vision for Bristol, before taking questions from the audience on key business issues such as devolution, housing, employment, transport links, skills and culture.
These candidates had asked for this event in order to understand and debate key issues important to the business community. This private hustings will be followed by a larger one which will be open to the wider business community on 14th April at Ashton Gate.
Commenting on the event, James Durie, Chief Executive of Bristol Chamber of Commerce & Initiative, part of Business West, said:
“The mayoral election in Bristol is something our businesses recognise as important. We want to engage extensively with the candidates to hear their ideas and plans but also to make sure they understand the key issues important to business in making the city successful for all. This event is just one way we are engaging with candidates.
“Bristol and its city region is being increasingly recognised as a great place to live and work, having recently been recognised as the best place in the country to start and grow a business. To take the next step, we need an ambitious Mayor who will engage with the business community. To have candidates engaging with us early on in their campaign was a good opportunity.”
Ben St Quintin, President of the Bristol Junior Chamber, said:
“The Bristol Junior Chamber originally campaigned in 2012 for Bristol to have an elected Mayor and now we’ve had one for 3 years, we are pleased to see the legislative powers the Mayor has to affect real change in Bristol and get things done. However, it is important to hold the Mayor to account and at the hustings our members were able to tell the incumbent and his main rivals exactly what matters to them. The ultimate aim is for our members to go to the ballot box and make the most informed decision possible and hopefully increase overall turnout in the election too.”
Rebecca Tregarthen, Chair of the IoD Bristol Branch, said:
“The hustings event was hugely valuable in terms of the chance to be able to hear the candidates’ opinions and manifestos and also for them to interact with prominent businesses and representatives in the area. Bristol and it’s immediate region stands at the crossroads of change and opportunity and leadership from our Elected Mayor is vital; it’s more than business issues in many cases – it’s also hearts and minds. The IoD has always been an advocate of this opportunity and progress for businesses and there is much of both ahead as the region moves forward.”