Here are some of the reasons why I am backing Andy Burnham to be the leader of the Labour Party and more importantly the Prime Minister of our country.
If we are to succeed as a country we need to make sure that people in work have well paid jobs, so that living standards can rise and everyone has the opportunity to get on.
An economy with more high-skill, high wage jobs will also mean that we collect more in taxes so that we can afford good quality public services and look after our parents and grand-parents.
It will also mean that our children and grand-children can have the best possible education and prospects for the future.
To deliver an economy where people have well paid jobs, we need to encourage businesses of every kind to thrive.
But businesses face a number of significant challenges.
At present there is a big gap in the technical skills needed by employers and we need to make sure that our young people have the skills needed by businesses to be more productive.
The road, rail and public service infrastructure of the country is vital if we are to support both those running businesses and those working for them.
Meanwhile, business owners and managers still face big problems in borrowing from their banks either for investment in equipment or for day to day overdraft facilities.
And the uncertainty about whether the UK will stay in the EU is also delaying major investment from outside the country as international firms wait to see whether we will stay or go.
There are strong Labour answers to the challenges of how we make sure businesses can contribute to the strong economy and create the well paid jobs that are an essential part of the success of our country.
Andy Burnham has made a passionate commitment to improving skills. His support for strong public services is powerful and well documented, given his time as Health Secretary and then Shadow Health Secretary. And he was the Chief Secretary to the Treasury who carried out a spending review that even the Tories called 'tough', which shows he understands the need for sound public finances.
Like Andy, I am married to a business owner and like me, Andy is kept in touch with the realities of running a business on a day to day basis. I have a background in business and know that Andy understands how important thriving businesses are for this country.
The Tories' plans have seen us move towards a low skill, low wage economy. Every job is important to someone’s livelihood, but low skills and low wages aren't a plan for competing in the global economy of the 21st century, it is a plan for causing very serious harm to our economy and to our future. People in work are on average £2,000 worse off a year than they were five years ago. If we are to improve the lives of tall the people in this country and to make sure our children are better off than we are, we need a proper business strategy and a serious willingness to engage.
Andy made clear in his Ernst and Young speech on 29 May that business needs Labour to be on its side, not least to make the case for being at the heart of an EU that works for our economy and for ordinary people.
Andy Burnham’s experience, his ideas and his emotional connection all show that he can gain the support of business. We need that support in order to win the next election and in order to deliver the high wage, high skill economy that is essential for the future of our country.
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