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Rees: ‘Let’s rebuild a fairer, inclusive and more sustainable economy’

By ellie pipe, Thursday Apr 9, 2020

Bristol and other Core Cities are asking the Government for a £100m pot to help businesses that have fallen through the gaps in terms of existing support.

Marvin Rees said economic survival and recovery is one of the challenges faced in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic that is already having a “devastating” impact on some sectors and livelihoods.

The mayor revealed the proposal from Core Cities to help those that are currently ineligible for support packages during a press briefing on Wednesday.

A number of Bristol companies, with the support of Business West, are already calling on the Government to take urgent action to help the many companies affected by the coronavirus pandemic that are missing out on grants of £10,000 or £25,000 because they are based in shared workspace and therefore don’t pay business rates directly.

Rees also set out the ambition to rebuild a fairer, more inclusive and sustainable economy in the wake of the pandemic.

“While we need to take on the immediacy of the health challenge that coronavirus brings us, we also need to recognise the devastating impact it’s having on businesses and the economy, which is impacting on jobs and livelihoods,” he told journalists.

“Corovonirus itself will have a health price to pay but so will joblessness and inequality and economic devastation.

“While we are putting in place the measures to tackle coronavirus, we also need to be very aware of the economic consequences of those measures and be proactively thinking about economic survival and economic recovery.”

 

Marvin Rees says this is a chance to think about how we rebuild what is going to be a very hard-hit economy

He said Bristol is now positioned as one of the world’s leading cities on sustainable development goals (SDGs) because the One City Plan, launched in January 2019 is aligned with these goals.

Rees continued: “Every city system is being tested by coronavirus, not just Bristol but all over the world. While it is, we have an opportunity to see what is resilient and what is not resilient, what is strong and what is not strong.

“As we think about how we rebuild what is going to be a very hard-hit economy and a society that’s rebuilding itself, we can begin to put some anchors in place.”

The mayor said SDGs could offer a “very powerful collection of principles that we aim to deliver which do good not only for Bristol but for the planet”.

He continued: “City leaders are taking the opportunity to say ‘OK, if cities are going to be challenged and stripped back to the bones when we rebuild them let’s not rebuild them as we had before, like we did after the financial crash of 2008, but let’s build something different and more sustainable, more inclusive, more fair and more just’.

“It is not easy and it sounds like a million miles away but you’ve got to start working out how to do it, and the environmental sustainability board and the economy board will take this on and help us do this.”

Main photo by Lowie Trevena

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