The key points from Mayor of Bristol's State of the City Address 2020

  • Watch Max Walsh's full interview with Mayor Marvin Rees

The Mayor of Bristol has delivered his final State of the City Address before next year’s mayoral elections.

The coronavirus pandemic and the challenges facing the city featured prominently in Marvin Rees' speech at the Watershed.

His address also touched on health, inequality, housing, the environment, ecology and transport.

Mr Rees’ first term in office was due to conclude earlier this year, but was extended beyond the customary four years because of the pandemic.

ITV News West Country reporter Max Walsh speaks to Mayor of Bristol Marvin Rees following his address.

ITV News West Country reporter Max Walsh, who watched the mayor deliver his speech, summarises the key points.

Analysis by Max Walsh

This was a speech dominated by coronavirus and the impact it would have on Bristol. 

There were warnings of 8,000 fewer jobs in the city and a multi-million pound shortfall for the council. 

But the Mayor was also keen to emphasise a number of large infrastructure projects like Temple Quarter and Western Harbour. 

And this was even more relevant with less than a year to the next local and mayoral elections.

Speaking to ITV News West Country after the event, Mayor Rees discussed his proudest achievements, his toughest decisions and reflected on his four years in office.

You can watch our interview with the mayor at the top of this article, or read some of his answers below.

What are you most proud of?

"Building houses," Marvin said. "I visited a property in St Anne's not too long ago and a family had moved into their first house after living in tower block.

"It could completely change their lives. Building homes for people in communities is a real highlight of the job. 

"We have built just short of 7,000 homes since 2016, with around 1,000 affordable. 

Mr Rees gave his speech at the Watershed in Bristol.

"And we have built up a council housing programme of over 1,200 homes - the largest council housing development programme in this city for over 35 years.

"When we add the pipeline of projects our housing company is working on, this rises to almost 2,500 council homes to be built in Bristol."

Toughest decision?"The decision of Temple Island and Bristol Arena," he said.

"It came to the point that we knew the right decision. The finances to go ahead with that project were disastrous for the city.

"If we had borrowed £160million to build an arena and open it right now in the middle of the pandemic, it was a huge risk and a risk the city could not afford."

How do you reflect on the last four years?

"Circumstances of my birth say I shouldn't be Mayor," he said. "When you do something, you may feel you're not up to it.

"If you don't feel like that, you're probably a bit pompous. This job is bigger than me. But over time, you form strong relationships and you grow into it, and I have grown into it."

  • Watch the shorter version of the interview with Marvin Rees, broadcast on ITV West Country on Thursday 15 October

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