CBI urges next Metro Mayor to put jobs, inclusivity and productivity at centre of region’s recovery

February 26, 2021

The next West of England mayor must show vision and ambition to spearhead the region’s Covid recovery and build a sustainable, long-term prosperity capable of matching London’s economic strength, according to the CBI.

The business group this week launched its blueprint for the West of England’s future, which urges the winner of May 6’s ‘metro’ mayor ballot to champion the region’s unique strengths in rebuilding. 

In its Revival Plan the CBI says job creation, inclusivity and productivity growth should be among the new mayor’s key priorities for a region as it recovers from the coronavirus pandemic.

It points out that 30% of the workforce has been furloughed, and more than 23,000 jobs lost, while the region’s strong sectors such as aerospace, retail and hospitality have been heavily impacted.

However, it says as a region rich in green industries, which boasts a strong skills base, high start-up rates and four prestigious universities fuelling research and innovation, the West of England is well-placed to bounce back.

CBI South West chair Susan Davy, pictured left, said: “The next mayor of the West of England will be pivotal in helping this region recover from the pandemic. This plan shows how business could work with the mayor to create high-skilled jobs, boost skills and deliver long-term prosperity.”

CBI South West director Deborah Fraser said the new West of England mayor must set out a long-term economic vision for the combined authority focusing on regional dynamism, building infrastructure, and stimulating job creation.

“Success requires prioritising hard-hit sectors such as aerospace and advanced manufacturing, in addition to those sectors that can deliver future growth and support a low carbon future,” said Deborah, pictured below.

“New digital and physical infrastructure must be predicated upon creating more inclusive communities, employment opportunities and progression for all.

“Simultaneously, the mayor must champion jobs and re-skilling of the workforce so that it is responsive to changing patterns of employment.

“To realise this vision the mayor should work strategically with business, neighbouring authorities, and all parts of government to build a sustainable recovery and long-term prosperity.” 

The CBI’s Revival Plan identifies three key principles and a series of recommendations which outline how businesses and the newly-elected mayor could work in tandem to drive recovery and build long-term success:

Champion regional dynamism and global competitiveness to raise living standards by:

  • Promoting the region on a global stage, to attract and grow world-class businesses through a strong economic vision and a pro-business authority.
  • Reinforcing the region’s status as a global centre of innovation, particularly for strength and high-growth sectors such as advanced engineering and manufacturing, creative industries, and professional and financial services.
  • Taking action to attract inward investment, improve regional and international connectivity, and champion the region as a tourist destination.

Transform digital and physical infrastructure on the race to net zero by:

  • Ensuring the region plays its part in meeting carbon reduction ambitions by utilising rich natural resources in evolving towns and cities.
  • Leading a region which stands at the forefront of green technologies to become a national exemplar in the journey to net zero.
  • Driving job creation and housing improvement strategies, while championing investment in both physical and digital infrastructure in all parts of the region.

Stimulate job creation and secure an inclusive future workforce by:

  • Using the devolved adult education budget to aid the re-training and re-skilling agenda to target skills gaps and feed green industries.
  • Championing education and inclusivity to boost social mobility and ensure opportunity for younger generations and minority groups.
  • Engaging with business and education providers to deliver a workforce for the future which leaves no communities behind.

Together, the CBI believes these actions can address inequalities and equip the South West with the infrastructure, talent and investment needed to thrive through post-pandemic recovery and beyond.

The current – and first – metro mayor, conservative Tim Bowles, who was elected in 2017, is not standing in May. 


Comments are closed.


Reach tens of thousands of senior business people across Bristol for just £120 a month. Email info@bristol-business.net for more information.