Posts Tagged ‘Helen Holland’

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Bristol World Cup Bid Signed By Council Leaders

November 25, 2009

Bristol’s world cup host city bid has been signed by the city’s council leaders, before submission to the FA tomorrow.

The Council’s Lib Dem leader Barbara Janke and Labour leader Helen Holland officially signed the document on Wednesday lunchtime. Tory leader Richard Eddy was unable to attend, but sent a message of support for the bid.

It will be officially presented to FA bosses during a ceremony at Wembley on Thursday.

Barbara Janke said the bid was a “once in a lifetime opportunity” for Bristol and would bring “confidence, investment and income” into the city.

Barbara Janke & Helen Holland Sign Bristol's World Cup Bid

But she admitted there were financial risks, with hosting games in the tournament estimated to cost at least £17m.

She said: “There are clearly significant risks, with big sums of money at stake. It is clearly our intention that council tax payers are not going to have to carry the cost of this.

“We are starting from now to look at how we can raise the necessary funds with businesses, partners and other interested parties so that in nine years time we can fully finance the world cup matches.”

She also confirmed that Portsmouth’s decision to withdraw its hosting bid would make no difference to Bristol.

Portsmouth councillors last night pulled out of the process, with Conservative leader Steve Wemyss saying: ” I would love the World Cup to come to Portsmouth, but not at any cost.

“We are deceiving the council taxpayers if we think we can afford this. Let’s say no rather than have to cut other services to pay for this. We have to be realistic.”

Barbara Janke said: “I think Portsmouth is in a different position from Bristol. The financial pressures on them are bigger than we have here.

“There are also issues about the football club and the stadium, as I understand it. I still think there is a lot of confidence amongst the cities. There are still 15 others involved.

“When I spoke to colleagues at the Core Cities conference a few weeks ago, everybody still seemed very keen and ambitious. They want to take this forward for their own cities and put their cities on the world stage, which is what we want to do in Bristol.”

Barbara Janke also gave more details on how Bristol would finance its bid, without asking council tax payers for the full sum.

She said: “We have opportunities with the business rates, but we will have to take a ballot on that. We are also hoping the government might make lottery money available.

“We have been told that we can raise the business rates locally, so we will have to have a ballot on that. The difficult thing is that the city council does not keep the business rate. It’s kept by central government and reallocated on a per capita basis.

“If we were able to keep the business rate, we would be in a very strong position to finance events like this, but sadly that’s not the case at the moment.”

Audio: Martin Jones interviews Barbara Janke

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Labour expects “difficult” Bristol council vote

May 28, 2009

The third in my series of pieces about the council elections. This time, Labour:

Bristol’s Labour leader Helen Holland expects the June 4 council elections to be “difficult” for her party.

Labour is significantly behind in the national polls and many traditional voters are expected to stay at home, or even vote for minor parties as a protest at the MPs’ expenses scandal.

But she dismisses talk of a “meltdown” in the Labour vote in Bristol, saying: “Overall we expect to stay about the same in this election, and we would be happy with that.”

Labour currently has 24 seats on the council, compared to 32 Lib dems, 13 Conservatives and 1 Green. Labour ran the city council with support from the Tories for nearly 2 years, until a row over school closures caused the Conservatives to switch support to the Lib Dems in February.

She admits though, the expenses scandal and the general unpopularity of the government will hit the Labour vote.

She said: “We have heard that some people don’t feel like coming out and we’ve been talking to them about why they should. One of them is the threat from the BNP.

“Personally, I am digusted at the actions of some MPs of all parties. We don’t know what the effect of that will be on the voting public.”

But she blames the “cyclical nature” of British politics for some of the problems faced by Labour in Bristol: “We are in the third term of a Labour government and that has never happened before.

“You could say the same thing happened during the Tories’ 18 years in power in the 1990s. They completely lost their base in Bristol and were down to 6 seats. Whatever happens in these elections, the maths mean it can’t be that bad for us.”

Labour is basing its campaign on their achievements during their 21 months in power, citing transport policies like the £1 ‘travel anywhere’ bus fare, their pledge to make Bristol the safest city in the world, and their handling of the city’s finances.

But with the prospect of a collapse in their vote a real possibility, Helen Holland is understandably keen for this campaign to be over.

She said: “I always look forward to elections. For political people it’s our lifeblood. This one has been a hard slog, partly because it’s been such a long campaign. So I am looking forward to it, but I’m also looking forward to it being over.”

Audio: Original is talking to the leaders of all the main parties on the city council this week. Today, Martin Jones interviews Labour leader Helen Holland.