The Gloucestershire and West of England FSB senior team recently held a very successful first meeting with the West of England’s new Metro Mayor.
The West of England - which incorporates our Bath, South Gloucestershire and Bristol branches – was one of six areas in the UK which elected a new Metro Mayor in May and the role of this new office will be to coordinate issues such as transport and infrastructure across the region.
As with the elected mayors in places such as London and Manchester it is felt that this role will grow in importance and influence in the years to come which is why it is vital FSB have a good relationship with whoever holds the office.
The man who won the election was Tim Bowles, previously a councillor in South Gloucestershire, who we met in the run-up to the election to share our devolution manifesto and who we have already established a good, open working relationship with.
The mayor joined us for our regional committee meeting in Stroud at the end of July where he met and debated with representatives of all the branches in his region plus our area policy representative, Terry Lockwood, and also senior officials from our Weston-super-Mare branch as that area is also part of the West of England LEP even though they do not come under the mayor’s jurisdiction.
The meeting was a great opportunity to discuss issues of mutual interest and concern for businesses– broadband, infrastructure issues, skills and business support – and the FSB team emerged feeling we can really work together with the new combined authority which the mayor leads to help our members and small businesses in general.
One way FSB members in the West of England can get involved in the mayor’s future plans is to take part in a consultation around a strategy paper for the area which was unveiled at the University of the West of England in July. FSB members are invited to review the strategy document here and then take part in the official survey here.
We are now looking forward to having regular meetings with the new metro mayor and if you have any subject you would like to raise which come under his office then email firstname.lastname@example.org