Improve Local Business and its Inter-Connectivity with the Community

I think one of the first jobs for the new Mayor should be to meet with local businesses – large and small, and also with those who are considering starting up – and ask how the Council can help them.

There are a huge number of empty shops and offices around Bristol – that is such a waste! The Council should encourage and facilitate getting them back into use, for small firms, even for temporary ones. I like supermarkets and charity shops but it is healthy to have a good diversity of business types within each area.

Some immediate ideas are...

  • Allow a Council tax 'break' for new business – help them get started. Empty properties don't help the economy – let's ensure we're not hindering new start-ups.

  • Encourage business to take on extra staff – preferably for permanent jobs but at least apprenticeships where they can gain experience to make themselves more marketable. I don't mean slave labour but real jobs, for real experience with real value. Find incentives for companies to do this.

  • Encourage businesses to do their part to reduce the gap between rich and poor; lead the way by reforming the Council itself away from huge salaries that leave little for the less well-off. [See also Reduce the gap between rich and poor]

  • Encourage businesses to think and act locally eg use local suppliers and services. The Council should obviously lead the way in this by using local (including small) businesses itself.

  • Encourage a closer connection between business and community eg sponsorship of local youth clubs, giving some time and guiding our young people into employment and vocations.

  • Don't convert every last inch of land into housing (eg Filton Airfield) - it reduces business diversity (hence increasing vulnerability), causes overcrowdedness, and worsens congestion and pollution.