Mayoral race too tight to call as Mansell catches up with Tories

Lesley Mansell has welcomed the findings of a Bristol Post poll that shows the Metro Mayor election is neck-and-neck.

An online survey completed by more than 2,500 readers showed the Labour and Co-Operative candidate is just 0.2% behind the Conservative hopeful.

The findings support results from the 2015 General Election, in which Labour scored the second highest amount of votes across the West of England, behind the Conservatives.

With Lesley Mansell likely to pick up second preference votes from the Green Party and Liberal Democrats, she is confident of winning the election for Labour.

She said: “We’re closing the gap on the Tories and, once people read more of my policies, I fully expect to pull away from them and lead the poll.

“Only Labour can stop the Tories winning here, and sending a message to the government that austerity is not welcome. Only Labour will deliver prosperity for the West of England.”

Lesley Mansell welcomes snap general election

Lesley Mansell, the Labour and Co-Operative candidate for West of England Metro Mayor, today welcomed the news there would be a general election in June.

She said: “I’m standing for election as Metro Mayor because I want to transform the West of England. Now everyone has the same opportunity to transform the country by voting for Labour candidates in June as well as May.

“The snap general election is due to the Conservatives’ incompetent handling of the Brexit negotiations that have left businesses worried for their future. What it does, though, is give real hope to workers that a hard Brexit can be avoided and give people a chance to vote for an alternative to a government that has cut local authority funding by 37% since 2010.

“Over the last seven years the Tory government, backed by the Liberal Democrats, has devastated our public services. Local councils runs by the Tories and Liberal Democrats have done nothing to mitigate the impact of these cuts, so this is our chance to support our Labour councillors across Bath & North East Somerset, Bristol and South Gloucestershire and ensure the West of England is run for the many, not the few.”

Emily Thornberry backs Lesley Mansell for Metro Mayor

Shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry yesterday visited Bristol to lend her supporter for the Labour and Co-operative candidate Lesley Mansell.

Emily spent a couple of hours door-knocking in Ashley before heading to the Labour Party’s regional office for a further two hours ringing voters in the West of England.

She said: “It’s a pleasure to be down here supporting Lesley. I’ve just come off the doorstep where I’ve been having a conversation with a young man and I was saying to him “It doesn’t have to be this way.

“We can build affordable homes, it is possible to build more council housing – it’s a question of political will.

“We need to have politicians elected into positions of power whereby they can make the right decisions and Lesley, if she is elected here as Metro Mayor, would have the power to build affordable homes, which is what we need.”

Lesley Mansell – supporting small businesses across the West

Lesley Mansell, the Labour and Co-Operative candidate for West of England Metro Mayor, today pledges to support small business as they chase late payments.

New research from Labour reveals small businesses across the South West are missing out on £2.47m each year due to late payments from big companies.

Meeting today with the Federation of Small Business, Lesley Mansell will say she supports Jeremy Corbyn’s three pledges to small business:

· Tough action on late payment
· No quarterly reporting
· Regional investment banks to improve access to finance

Lesley Mansell said: “Many small businesses in the West of England are struggling to keep afloat from one month to the next as late payments from big companies keep them on a financial knife edge.

“As Metro Mayor, I will do everything I can to support them. They’re the engine that keep our local economy running – we must have an economy that works for everyone.”

Lesley Mansell backs South Glos parents in fair fund fight

Lesley Mansell, Labour’s candidate for Metro Mayor, has pledged her support for South Gloucestershire parents fighting for fair school funding.

By 2019 schools in South Gloucestershire will have seen their budgets cut by £135m – £397 per pupil or the equivalent of 367 teachers.

Attending a Fair Funding For Schools South Glos meeting in Hambrook last night, Lesley Mansell said: “Congratulations to all the parents fighting the devastating Tory cuts to our schools. I am fighting alongside you and, if elected as Labour’s Metro Mayor for the West of England, I will continue that fight to protect all our children’s education.

“We cannot afford to gamble with the future of our children. The government should increase investment in all schools by protecting per-pupil funding in real terms and making sure comparatively poorly funded areas of England do not miss out.

“The Metro Mayor will have responsibility for students aged over 19, so the education they receive beforehand is crucial in shaping their life chances.

“We cannot afford to let the cuts started by the Tories and Lib Dems ruin these young people’s futures before they’ve started. I will work hard to ensure people living in the West of England have access to better jobs, better training opportunities and better apprenticeships.

“I want everyone to share equally in our region’s success but in order for that to happen we need a Labour Metro Mayor.”

Lesley Mansell pledges to build 4,000 new homes a year

Lesley Mansell, Labour’s candidate for the West of England Metro Mayor, today pledges to build 4,000 new homes a year across the West of England.

She has identified housing as her number one priority and today sets out five key pledges aimed at tackling the region’s housing crisis.

The pledges are:

  • Build 4,000 new homes across West England – including 1,200 affordable – a year to 2021
  • Strengthen tenants’ rights against unscrupulous landlords through ACORN’s Ethical Lettings Charter
  • Invest in infrastructure to support housing development
  • Return empty properties into housing stock
  • Protect building workers through Unite the Union’s Construction Charter

Lesley Mansell said: “My priority is to build more social housing and affordable homes, focusing on the areas of greatest need.

“People need homes to call their own, businesses need somewhere for their employees to live. With better planning and contracts, new housing developments will also deliver apprenticeships and employment.

“The parties who have led the three local authorities over the last decade have failed to deliver our housing needs. They say they will build houses but, in truth, they obstruct them – like they have done in Hengrove and outside Thornbury this year already.

“Only Labour will deliver on housing. Marvin Rees and the Labour council in Bristol is already building council houses and I want to see the other local authorities following their lead.”

Shadow Housing Secretary John Healey, who met Lesley when he visited Bristol last month, backed her plans, saying:  “Seven years of failure on housing under Conservative ministers has led to a housing crisis across the country. 

“With little hope of action from this government we need ambitious local initiatives, which is why I welcome these pledges from Lesley Mansell. 

“The West of England needs somebody who can bring together the local authorities, developers and investors to deliver the houses that are required, not just in ten years’ but in 20 years’ time.

“It’s that sort of leadership that’s been lacking here. Lesley can bring that leadership and the launch of her housing pledge today is a demonstration to people of a difference a Labour Metro Mayor will make.”

Lesley Mansell promotes cycling in the West of England

Lesley Mansell, Labour’s candidate for the West of England Metro Mayor election, has released a statement to promote cycling in the region.

She said: “I recognise transport issues are a priority for many – if not most – of us who live and work in the West of England.

“Congestion and high ticket prices affect our economy, our productivity, our happiness and our health.  As Metro Mayor, I will apply ‘joined-up’ thinking to our transport planning.

“I will prioritise healthy and environmentally methods of transport, and work with all the local authorities to ensure they factor in cycle routes, good walking routes, pedestrian and cycling safety, and intelligent public transport systems when planning and upgrading our transport networks.

“I am committed to rolling out Clear Air Zones (CAZ) across the West of England Combined Authority (WECA), and am delighted Defra has funded a CAZ for Bristol. I will push for additional funding for the WECA region, and look forward to implementing similar schemes in the area.

“I will encourage local authorities to work together to enable ‘joined-up’ use of our transport network. Linking together cycle routes, pedestrian walk-ways and public transport will enable more people to use these instead of driving.

“I also understand, for many would-be cyclists, the state of our roads is a deterrent. I pledge to improve the quality of our roads, including fixing potholes and lighting.

“I recognise that, for some people, driving is the only reliable way of getting to work or to the shops. I will listen to communities about how ‘transport poverty’ affects their lives.

“I will look for opportunities to create community-driven public transport schemes, as well as encouraging transport companies to provide a better, more affordable bus and rail provision.

“I will have the power to bring together stakeholders in the transport field, and will listen to and work with all those who are specialists in the WECA area.

“I will champion the needs of all transport users, including cyclists and pedestrians, when additional funding needs to brought in to improve our networks.”

Billy Bragg joins trade unions campaigning for Lesley

More than 100 Labour Party members and supporters hit the Bristol streets on Saturday to support Labour and Co-operative party Metro Mayor candidate Lesley Mansell.

Organised by TULO (Trade Union and Labour Party Liaison Organisation), the trade union campaign day saw 140 people from across the South West, Wales and London spread Lesley Mansell’s message of hope and change ahead of next month’s election.

The day was rounded off with an intimate gig by Billy Bragg at the Plough in Easton. Among those in the audience of the impromptu gig were members of the Easton Cowgirls football team.

Lesley Mansell said: “I would like to give a massive thanks to Billy and all the volunteers who talked to people on doorsteps across Bristol during the day.

“I have always been proud to be a trade unionist, but Saturday was something special.”

Billy entertained the crowd with an hour-long set of our favourites, finishing with Power In A Union and a rousing rendition of A New England which resonates with the change Lesley will be making!

Lesley Mansell calls for free bus and train travel for teenagers

Lesley Mansell, Labour’s candidate for West of England Metro Mayor, today calls for free travel for 16-19-year-olds on buses and trains.

Speaking as Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn announced a national strategy for local bus services, Lesley Mansell said: “The prospects of our young people – whether they’re students, looking for work or travelling to work – should not restricted by the cost of our transport system.

“I will push for transport companies to provide free travel to those aged between 16 and 19, as well as protecting free travel schemes for older and disabled passengers.”

Labour’s national strategy includes reversing the ban preventing local authorities from owning bus companies in the future.

Lesley Mansell said: “Publicly-owned, affordable and efficient transport is more important than ever. Evidence from around the country shows that community owned and run services perform better and are cheaper for passengers than the Tories’ broken private franchise model which prioritises profit over service.”

Lesley Mansell backs ‘Bristol Welcomes All’ poster

Lesley Mansell, Labour’s candidate for West of England Metro Mayor, has given her backing to a ‘Bristol Welcomes All’ poster. 
Local Labour Party members came up with the idea after an increase in reported racist attacks immediately after the EU referendum.
Poster designer Christina de la Mare said: “There was a strong desire to do something positive, despite the bad news. We don’t believe people in the UK should turn their back on people from other countries.”
Lesley Mansell said: “As an equality manager, trade unionist and Labour Party member, I have always fought discrimination, which is why I welcome the strong message of unity the poster sends out. 
“As the UK prepares to leave the EU, if elected as Metro Mayor, I will build international links to make it easier for firms to trade following Brexit. I will fight for the best Brexit deal for all West of England residents and businesses, maintaining industrial and cultural links with Europe while promoting our region as an attractive destination for businesses and tourism.”
A thousand copies of the poster have been printed for distribution around the city. The design will also be used on tea-towels and placemats.