Tim Bowles: my first year as West of England Mayor
As the first West of England Mayor, I’m here to look at the big picture and those longer-term things that will make a difference to residents’ lives.
We are an economically successful region where businesses start, grow and thrive. Working with our LEP, I want to ensure we continue to support innovation, which is at the heart of so much of our success.
We need to get our region moving, and we’ve already invested millions to look at how we can improve our busiest routes. I’m passionate about improving suburban rail with more and better services – I’m talking to Government and Network Rail about this.
Building more homes, particularly affordable homes, is a priority for everyone. I’ve secured extra money from Government and we’re working with our housing associations to ensure more affordable homes are built.
I’m committed to improving residents’ skills and opportunities. We have many high-quality jobs and I want to ensure that locally-grown talent has every opportunity to secure those jobs.
Another important aspect of my role is championing the region. I’ve developed strong relationships with national Government and secured over £150m of additional investment; money that wouldn’t be coming here if WECA didn’t exist.
Working with the other Metro Mayors, we all see the value in devolving decision-making and we support each other in making representations to Government. Much has been achieved over the past year, but there’s so much more to do. I will continue to work with others to secure further investment for our region, to ensure that the West of England is recognised nationally, and internationally, as a place of growth and innovation and a great place to live and work.