The Green Party candidate to become Bristol’s first elected mayor has launched her manifesto and promised to match Labour’s pledge to introduce a Living Wage for council staff.
Daniella Radice said she wanted to deal with the problems the city faces with a “holistic and pragmatic approach”.
She pledged to stop the controversial £200m Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system, which was “pouring good money after bad”, and to develop the party’s long-demanded transport hub at Temple Meads station.
Ms Radice added she wanted to lobby national government for a change in planning laws to prevent more big chain supermarkets from opening, in recognition of the anger felt in the likes of Stokes Croft to the introduction of a Tesco store in the area.
And in a bid to improve local democracy, she promised to introduce democratically elected neighbourhood councils to devolve more powers to citizens.
Launching her manifesto (which you can download and read below), Ms Radice said she would “champion the adoption of the Living Wage throughout the city”.
“When addressing the economic issues our city faces, I want to widen the debate beyond having a living wage or more jobs – we need both, and we must seek creative ways to deliver these,” she said.
“The manifesto lays out how this can be achieved while also strengthening high streets, keeping Bristol’s money local through retaining business rates, and enabling more local businesses to compete for council contracts.”
Last week, Labour candidate Marvin Rees said consultants hired by Bristol City Council would face the axe to pay for Labour’s planned wage rises for the city’s lowest-paid council staff.
He said one of his first priorities if elected would be to make Bristol a ‘Living Wage city’. Initially, all council staff earning less than £7.20 an hour – considered to be enough to provide for the basic cost of living in the UK – would see their pay rise.
Ms Radice said businesses who followed the council’s example on pay would receive accreditation for the move.
“Bristol City Council should lead by example and lend its name to an award offered to employers who pay all employees the Living Wage,” the manifesto said.
“The Green Mayor commits to paying all employees of Bristol City Council the Living Wage for Bristol, including those providing services that are contracted out. This specification would be clearly written into the procurement policy.
“The Green Mayor will actively encourage all businesses and employers in the city to adopt the Living Wage
policy. Businesses adhering to the payment of the Living Wage to all employees would receive accreditation
to demonstrate to all customers and clients that they have an exemplary pay policy.”
Meanwhile, a Green mayor would:
- Ask to retain 50% of the city’s business rates, as is often the norm in other successful European cities. Currently Bristol retains closer to 13%;
- Support the Bristol Metro project to bring more rail tracks and stations into service for the city, including restoring a passenger line to Portishead and the implementation of the Henbury loop;
- Campaign to bring buses back under full public control;
- Responsibility for all schools, including free schools and academies, to rest within Bristol again, rather than with central government;
- Allow some council-owned properties to be rented at a minimal charge to encourage food retailers to provide an alternative to supermarkets.
Ms Radice, an environmental specialist who has worked in the sustainable waste industry, said: “I believe we need to change the way we do business, by putting people and planet ahead of profit.
“This does not mean I am anti-business, far from it, but I truly believe that what is good for local communities and the environment is also good for business. Bristol can be a leader in this field.”
Daniella Radice is holding a Q&A during the Green Party National Conference tomorrow from 3.15-4pm at The Mauretania on Park Street.