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18 October 2017 Mayor delivers annual State of the City address

Mayor Marvin Rees has detailed his vision for the future of Bristol while reflecting on the achievements of his first 18 months in office in his annual State of the City Address.

In his second mayor’s address, Marvin built on last year’s themes of reducing inequality through a commitment to building homes, creating jobs, improving transport and giving children a better start in life.

Marvin outlined the importance of cities and how empowering them is the great opportunity of our time, in his speech at the Bristol Festival of Ideas on Wednesday 18 October.

He said: “Eradicating poverty means putting transport, housing and jobs at the centre of a thriving, inclusive and sustainable economy, that provides jobs, opportunity and hope for all: university graduates and those with few formal qualifications,  those who come here from outside whether as students or refugees and those whose families have roots in the city going back generations.

“This must be a city where talent, work and the city’s compassion rather than the wealth of your parents is the key determinant of your life chances.”

During his address, the Mayor reflected on achievements to date, including the Our Learning City project accepting a UNESCO progress award and facilitating £154,000-worth of funding going to 28 community-led projects for clean energy initiatives.

New announcements included news that a bid has been submitted, with regional partners, to the Housing Infrastructure Fund to try to bring £100m to Temple Meads to unlock additional housing, ambitious development plans for Cumberland Basin and that contactless payments will be operational on the First Bus fleet, starting in January 2018.

He explained how Bristol is the only core city that retains the full council tax reduction scheme, and, for this year at least, that he will recommend to Full Council that Bristol retains this scheme intact.

Marvin also announced progress towards a mass transit scheme that has the potential to be transformative for the city and region. He explained the pre-feasibility report into an underground had said ground conditions are not too problematic and that with the right level of investment, is perfectly buildable.

Marvin highlighted how the city is making a mark internationally by talking about his election to the steering committee of the Global Parliament of Mayors – and announcing that Bristol will host the Global Parliament of Mayors conference in 2018.

He said: “This is a huge opportunity, not just for the profile of the city around the world, but a chance to showcase the city, our investability, our tourism and trade match-ups.”

The event took place at the Wills Memorial Building to a full hall.

Professor Hugh Brady introduced the evening and Marvin’s address was preceded by a new poem from Bristol Poet Laureate, Miles Chambers, and the address was followed with a panel discussion with James Brooks (City Solutions Director, National League of Cities, Washington DC), Carolyn Hassan (Knowle West Media Centre), Julia Unwin (former Director Joseph Rowntree Foundation, now chair of Civil Society Futures) and Jack Payne and Eve Szczelkun, Bristol’s Youth Mayors.

The event is part of the Bristol Festival of Ideas, a programme designed to encourage debate and stimulate thinking that runs throughout the year. It also aims to celebrate the work of great writers, commentators and thinkers in and outside the city. Since starting in 2004, the Festival has run over 2,000 events. http://www.ideasfestival.co.uk/

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