NOVEMBER 2021: News from Mayor Marvin Rees

October 22 2021

Making Ends Meet

Throughout my time in office, we have prioritised building a strong and resilient economy for Bristol.  
We’ve worked to attract investment that brings good sustainable jobs to our city. And I’m proud that we are recognised as a Living Wage City by the Living Wage Foundation, making sure that workers across our city take home a wage they can support themselves on. We’re looking to accelerate our progress on this – with an ambition to double the number of Living Wage accredited employers by the end of 2023.
The resilience we have worked to build in to our economy was crucial in keeping people afloat during the pandemic. However, we knew that the impact the virus would have on jobs and pay would not be felt evenly and would exacerbate existing inequalities.
Working across the city, we’ve stepped in to help people who have lost income over the past two years. We distributed over £100 million of pandemic support to businesses to protect jobs and livelihoods. Over the last school year, we stepped up and provided 105,997 vouchers to support families entitled to free school meals. And we currently help 35,795 households with their bills through our Council Tax Reduction Scheme – one of the only local authorities in the country to fully fund council tax for the poorest households.
It is clear, however, that our work isn’t done.
As I write, rising energy prices are not only putting pressure on people’s bank balances, they’re threatening jobs as businesses struggle to meet their overheads and supply chains across industries are interrupted. To make matters worse, the government have chosen to end the £20 uplift in Universal Credit, which has been helping around 17,000 working families in Bristol make ends meet.
I know that for many families, a cut in income like this will hurt. It’s the wrong move, at the wrong time.
Nonetheless, as a city we stand ready to help.
In addition to the Council Tax Reduction Scheme, there is lots of information on the Bristol City Council website about the financial support that is available for households who may be struggling to make ends meet. And our Local Crisis and Prevention Fund can help with emergency payments if you can’t afford basics like food, electricity or gas. Visit www.bristol.gov.uk/benefits-financial-help for more information.
I pay tribute also to the network of city partners and voluntary and community groups who are already stepping up to help people experiencing hardship over the coming months.
We’ve seen that spirit of generosity shine through time and time again in our city over the past two years. It’s what makes Bristol a City of Hope, and it’s what will see our city through the testing times to come.