It’s Our City, Our Community, Our Bristol
Bristol is a thriving, successful city. It is a centre of exciting new businesses, many in the high-tech. or environmental sector. Bristol contributes significantly to the whole region and the UK economy.
But we all know the problems faced by Bristolians every day: slow expensive buses, not enough school places, inadequate housing and frail grandparents needing support. The only way that we can achieve improvements is if we Bristolians work together to change things. A programme driven from the top by ego or central party policy won’t work. As someone born, raised and living in Bristol I understand the frustrations people feel.
I didn’t go to a posh school; I’m from a single parent family and money was short. I succeeded through my own resilience. This is something the job of Mayor needs.
The values that made me join the Liberal Democrats are more important than ever – respect for individuals’ rights and a belief in community. My first political action was to fight Mrs. Thatcher’s Poll Tax and I haven’t stopped fighting for fairness ever since. I have never forgotten my family background. I’m a mother of two who has juggled family and work; I value people and will listen. I also get results.
I will deliver what Bristol needs:
- Transport for Bristol which works
- Good Bristol schools for every child
- An inclusive city where communities work together across cultural barriers
- A city which supports its elderly and vulnerable people in a joined up way
- Support for local businesses to employ local young people from all backgrounds
- More affordable housing inside the city, to cut the huge numbers of people who are forced to commute
Bristol is congested and polluted by traffic. It is a disgrace for a European Green Capital that about 200 Bristolians a year die from pollution’s effects. As mayor I will deliver a proper plan for Bristol’s transport and a Transport Authority for Bristol which can deliver the services we need for local people. Not everyone can cycle!
I will demand from the government the power to bring in:
- Better bus services and a prepayment electronic payment card which works on both trains and buses, like the London Oyster Card.
- A good park-and-ride scheme near the northern end of the M32
- New stations around Bristol such as a stop at the Portway A4 Park and Ride, with good commuter trains around Bristol and an improved Temple Meads.
I will also review Residents Parking Schemes to make them more flexible and listen to local people about whether they want them in their area.
The number of children at primary school has grown in the last few years. The number of secondary school places hasn’t kept up. I will work with parents, schools and government to make sure Bristol children can go to Bristol schools. In addition the demand for nursery school has outstripped the number of places in many parts of the city. Helping mums back to work is important for families, something I know from personal experience.
An inclusive city
Bristol is hugely diverse city and is rightly proud of that. Working to bring communities together is vital and is an important part of leadership in the city. It is something I am already working to achieve. Bristol will not thrive as a divided city.
Poverty, Health and Social Care
The city has pockets of real deprivation where shocking statistics show that people live much shorter lives and many of their later years are spent in poor health. The mayor and council have a significant role to play in helping solve those problems, difficult as it may seem. Making sure that the NHS health care and Council social care teams work together to help frail older people and to encourage people to live healthier lives is important for the wellbeing of the whole city.
Giving young people hope is important. Businesses have a role to play, particularly small businesses. These are where exciting ideas come from, where jobs are generated. The small business sector in Bristol should be supported to take on apprentices from all backgrounds. My own experience tells me that, for small businesses, such a step is difficult and help is welcome. Given that half our entire national economy is generated by small businesses, it is something I would champion in the city.
Bristol is suffering from its own success in attracting new people. The shortage of housing in the city is causing rocketing rents and house prices across the city and homelessness is increasing. Talking to a group of 17 year-old students in Bristol I was amazed that, even at that age, young people are worried about how they will cope in future. Building more affordable housing is a key factor and the city has been lagging behind. As mayor I will make sure that all new developments include the proper level of affordable housing and make sure the city expands its own council housing stock.
A little bit about me
I worked in international medical research for many years and gained international recognition as a research scientist at Bristol University before becoming a director of small business companies. My wide ranging experience includes helping African countries feed themselves and reducing their need for international aid, being a non-executive director of an NHS Trust, being a member of the governing body of the University of Bristol and establishing a large conservation area in Somerset. I am currently a Board member of two well-respected Bristol charities.