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  1. ITV Report

Countdown to a new Mayor for the West of England

Credit: ITV News

The count down is on for the vote for the first ever West of England Metro Mayor. The nominations for the role have been declared and with a month to go the campaigning can start in earnest.

There are 6 candidates...

  • Tim Bowles – The Conservative Party
  • Aaron Foot – UK Independence Party (UKIP)
  • Darren Hall – Green Party
  • Lesley Mansell – Labour and Co-operative Party
  • John Savage – Independent
  • Stephen Williams – Liberal Democrats

The new West of England Combined Authority will combine the South Gloucestershire, Bath and North East Somerset and the City of Bristol local authorities.

The leaders of the two councils and the Mayor of Bristol will be on the cabinet of the new authority. This is the devolution deal offered by the Government to bring more powers and some extra money from central Government more locally.

Voting takes place on Thursday 4 May Credit: PA

The new West of England Combined Authority will combine the South Gloucestershire, Bath and North East Somerset and the City of Bristol local authorities.

The leaders of the two councils and the Mayor of Bristol will be on the cabinet of the new authority. This is the devolution deal offered by the Government to bring more powers and some extra money from central Government more locally.

The Communities Secretary Sajid Javid has been encouraging people to register to vote.

It’s one month to go until residents in the West of England have an historic opportunity to shape how the area is run and vote for the region’s first directly-elected mayor.

But this is not just about voting for another politician – they’re voting to take control of issues that matter to them, whether that’s housing or transport, skills provision or new jobs.

So my message to people in the West of England is simple: check you’re registered to vote, so you can have your say on 4 May.

– Sajid Javid MP, Communities Secretary

The real issue though for whoever gets the job in May is to make people understand what the job actually entails. The Mayor will have powers over transport, housing and developing skilled workers in the region.

We asked people in Bath whether they understood what the West of England Mayor was... you may already guess their answers:

  • Here's an explainer from Cabinet Office minister and Kingswood MP, Chris Skidmore.

At the moment the Bookies have joint favourites to get the job and expect it to go to either the Conservative or Liberal Democrat candidates.

But for everyone taking part, if the turn out is low, then it is easier to swing the vote as it will come down to whoever convinces more people to actually head to a polling station.

North Somerset opted out of the new West of England authority - for the moment Credit: ITV News

The West of England Combined Authority region is almost the old Avon area with the exception of North Somerset Council.

It decided not to take part in this new authority but I understand that if it changes its mind in the future, then there could be an opportunity to join in at a later date.

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