The leaders of the Labour councillors on three West of England councils have jointly announced the publication of their respective manifestos for the local elections on 7 May, demonstrating their close working relationship. One third of the council seats on Bristol City Council is up for election whereas every seat is up for grabs on its neighbouring councils.
Councillors Helen Holland (Bristol City), John Bull (Bath & North East Somerset) and Pat Rooney (South Gloucestershire) will be launching their own separate documents addressing specifically local concerns, but they have united in a public show of commitment to encourage their councils to work together as closely as possible for the common good in the future.
In particular, the three leaders pointed to the need for close collaboration on improving public transport in the sub-region, and for attracting investment in high-value jobs and opportunities for local people across the area.
In a joint statement the three leaders said:
“Labour’s core value is that we achieve more together than we do alone – it is on our membership cards – and the three of us commit to working together and with other neighbouring councils to make sure we have joined-up planning for key services and infrastructure. Our councils must continue to embrace a culture of openness and partnership in their dealings with each other. Local residents get frustrated when they perceive that their local representatives are not taking a wider view when trying to sort out the West of England’s problems.
National government needs to do a lot more to help councils work together by removing the obstacles that stand in our way. For example, each local council is on a different timetable for drawing up its strategic Local Plan, which is very unhelpful. We look forward to working closely with a Labour government that is prepared to give local councils the powers and resources we need to make a positive difference to the communities we serve.”