August 4, 2015

Bill Esterson and Andy Burnham

To be successful as a country, we need a high skill, high wage economy. 

To have such an economy, our young people need the options of good quality apprenticeships as well as excellent places at university. 

Government needs to make sure that the road and rail networks are as strong as possible and that our energy infrastructure is fit for purpose. 

We need a banking system that supports businesses of all sizes. 

Health, police, fire and local government all need to be able to support our communities and the businesses that create the jobs that ensure prosperity. 

And a successful economy has to be underpinned by sound public finances so that we can afford the public services and investment in infrastructure.

I have set out what a successful Britain should look like and I am backing Andy Burnham because he can deliver such a vision as Labour leader and Prime Minister. 

Andy has the ideas, such as a UCAS style points system for apprenticeships that means young people who want to do work based, technical learning can travel to where the work is. 

He has plans to bring health and social care together to make sure we look after our parents and grandparents as well as making sure that our public services are efficient. 

And Andy has also suggested a Beveridge style commission, learning from how previous generations set up the welfare state, to work out what we can and can’t pay for in the public sector.

Andy Burnham has Labour answers to how we face the challenges of this era and how we oppose the Conservatives. 

Andy supports a graduate tax, while the Tories are cutting grants to poor students, because it is a better approach for students and for the economy. 

Andy supports bringing rail franchises back into public ownership because East Coast Trains was a success as a publicly run franchise and because it is more efficient and cheaper to have publicly run railways. 

Andy supports allowing councils to build homes again because we have a housing crisis and because house building is good for the economy, as it was after the second world war.

The Conservatives under George Osborne are cutting support for working people. Living standards for millions will continue to fall. But the Conservative answer is to have a low skill, low wage economy. 

That cannot be right for the people of this country.

We need the votes of millions of people who voted Conservative if we are to win next time, yet people who voted Conservative this year tell me they didn’t trust us on the economy.

There are many, many people in this country, who desperately need Labour to win. 

They need Labour to be credible on the economy so that people who voted Conservative this year, will vote Labour next time.

Labour needs to offer a high skill, high wage vision for the future. It is vital that the ideas that we propose stack up in economic terms and will work. 

The vision we present and the person we have as leader have to appeal to people who voted Conservative this year, if we are to win the next election. 

The ideas that Andy Burnham has set out are credible and will work because they are all part of having a successful economy. 

Labour can win the next election, if we offer hope for the future and have a leader who the majority of people in this country can relate to and support. 

I hope that those of you who have a vote in Labour leadership election will join me in supporting Andy Burnham.

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