18,495 more West of England people are out of work since lockdown began according to new figures released today.

There are now 31,595 people in the city aged between 16 and 64 claiming unemployment related benefits.

The news came as national labour market stats showed the number of people reporting they had been made redundant rose to a record high of 370,000 in the three months to October.

Mr Norris, who has pledged to be a “jobs first” Metro Mayor, said “Not only are these worrying figures but we must remember that behind every number is a struggling family. Many families will be facing Christmas with worry and uncertainty.

I also believe that it is not a coincidence that redundancies escalated to record levels whilst the clock was ticking down to the end of the furlough first planned by the Chancellor before his last minute U-turn. I hope he has learnt from this and call on him to clarity right now ahead of the next furlough cliff edge in January.

The UK is now is the worst recession of any major economy and West of England people are counting the cost.”

Red hot mayor has cool plan

As the West of England swelters, Metro Mayor Dan Norris has called for a maximum workplace temperature of 30C to be set by employers. He also wants local companies to put measures in place for workers who are at home, without access to things like air conditioning.

When temperatures plunge, workers have a right to go home as the mercury drops below 16C, but there is not currently a law when the weather hots up setting a maximum temperature limit.

The Mayor says that as our climate changes and we are seeing more extreme weather which is set to increase, now is the time for change.�

He says: “Our planet is heating up, and so are our workplaces and that can create serious medical problems from skin cancer to organ failure, with cases of dizziness, fainting, or even heat cramps.”

The Mayor says a change in the law is needed, but in the meantime plans to include safe temperatures to work in his Good Employers Charter for the due to be launched early in the next year.

He has also backed TUC guidance to help keep employees cool this week, including relaxing dress codes as an inexpensive way to help keep employees cool.

We don’t like to be beside the seaside

As the West of England swelters in the hot summer many residents minds might be turning to a trip to the beach. However those wishing to travel from Bristol to Weston Super Mare by train may be disappointed.

Great Western Railways are making reductions to the regional train service, cutting the rail link to the popular sea side town. From Monday 26 July the Bristol to Weston Super Mare service is cancelled on weekdays and Saturdays.

The cancellations have been blamed on significant numbers of staff self-isolating.

Following the news, Metro Mayor Dan Norris reiterated his calls for mask wearing to continue on public transport.

The Mayor said:

These cancelled services are a warning sign that mask wearing needs to continue on public transport for the safety of passengers and staff. The Government has made the wrong call on this issue. Whilst we all want to go back to normality, if Covid cases continue to soar we won’t be going back to normal, we will be seeing more cancelled services and more staff having to self isolate.”

Super Marios a cut above the rest

It is shear delight for a Hengrove barber who has been crowned the best in the UK in a nationwide competition. Metro Mayor Dan Norris will pop in for a trim and to offer his congratulations tomorrow Wednesday 13 July at 12.15 at 10 The Parade, Hengrove Lane, Hengrove, Bristol, BS14 9DB.

Mario Marotta has won the best barber competition run by the Barber Magazine and King C. Gillette and voted for by local customers.

Mario has been cutting locals hair and beards for over 30 years, and has been based at The Parade for 23 years. But the last 18 months has been a time like no other with lockdown forcing the shop to close, then a rush of customers with extra long locks to trim, all while getting used to masks, visors and other covid secure measures.

Scissors at the ready, Mario will explain to the Mayor how he puts his success down to support of his loyal customers and says “There is a real community spirit here, it’s what got us through lockdown and why I love it here.”

Mayor Dan Norris who is one of Mario’s regular customers said: “I’ve also known Mario is the best in the West – he’s been cutting my hair for 20 years. But now I know he is best in the whole country. Well done Mario! This is brilliant news and it is great to see our region on the map. So many local businesses have been through a really tough time, but it is that mix of independent and quirky shops and cafes that makes our region special. I’m so pleased at this success!”

Mayor wants to Electrify Skills

Metro Mayor Dan Norris has met apprentices learning how to service the electric vehicles of the future. They discussed how training was the solution to remove roadblocks to the plan to end the sale of petrol and diesel cars by 2030. This is a vital part of the West of England’s ambitious plan for net zero by the same year.

The Mayor found out how currently there is a lack of mechanics trained to work with electric vehicles as he toured S&B Automotive, a training centre which also employs apprentices, based in Bedminster.

The Institute of the Motor Industry says that just 5% of garage and dealer technicians are appropriately trained to work on electric cars. There are currently between 13,000 and 20,000 technicians qualified to service and repair the approximately 380,000 plug-in electric or hybrid cars on UK roads.

But we will need at least 75,000 EV-trained technicians to meet the number of hybrids and electric cars and vans expected to be sold in 2030.

Dan Norris said: “It is clear that if the take up of electric cars is really going to accelerate, we need a whole generation of people qualified to work on them. I was delighted to meet the apprentices working on a great scheme at S&B Automotive which is enabling them to keep pace with advancing technologies.

Metro mayor no dummy at Weston College

Metro Mayor Dan Norris met health and construction students at Weston College at the official national Launch of the UK’s twelve Institutes of Technologies.

Weston College is the lead college for the West of England Institute of Technology in partnership with UWE, and local employers including Airbus, the NHS and the National Composites Centre.

Mayor Norris was shown the college’s new simulation ward where students train on state of the art, life-like dummy patients which breathe, blink and groan. The Mayor spoke to students and then got hands on performing CPR on a training dummy. He was then shown their construction facilities.

Over the next three years the Institute of Technology plans to train over 2000 local people with 70% of them working as apprentices in local firms.

Dan Norris said: “I’m delighted to visit the brilliant facilities at Weston College the injuries on those patient dummies were worryingly lifelike, and I was fascinated to meet some of the people training to go into the building trade, the sights and sounds brought back a lot of memories for me from the days I was a scaffolders assistant. The young people I met were really enthusiastic and motivated and they know exactly what skills they need and were telling me about the full time jobs they know they can get at the end of their studies.