Street launches mayor bid with ‘economic renaissance’ for all pledge
A businessman fighting to be the Conservative candidate for metro mayor of the West Midlands is promising to deliver an “economic renaissance to touch the daily lives of all residents”.
Andy Street, chief executive of John Lewis and until recently chair of the Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP, said the office of elected mayor must not be squandered because it would offer a “once in a generation opportunity” to achieve the West Midlands’ true potential.
If selected by the Conservative party on 29th September, Mr Street will be up against Labour candidate Siôn Simon and Liberal Democrat Beverley Nielsen at the mayoral election on 4th May 2017.
The mayor will chair the West Midlands Combined Authority and oversee an £8 billion devolution deal to improve transport, economic development, workplace skills and housing.
It is anticipated that the mayor will also lead council leaders in negotiating further devolution deals with the Government in an attempt to unlock billions of pounds of funding.
In a statement to launch his campaign Mr Street stressed his business links and experience at negotiating with the Government for GBSLEP.
He added that the West Midlands faced a stark choice – to grow economically or to look backwards. Mr Street said:
As a proud Brummie, having been brought up here, I have recently seen the beginning of the renaissance of the West Midlands. But it needs to go much further and touch the daily lives of many more residents.
Over the past five years, I have led the Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership. I’ve witnessed how our region is beginning a transformation not seen for half a century.
The new role of mayor offers a once-in-a-generation opportunity to accelerate this transformation and truly realise our potential.
He is promising to be a strong voice for the West Midlands if elected.
Mr Street said he was accomplished at putting the region’s case to government and being an ambassador around the world. He added:
I believe I have the necessary experience and skills to make a success of this new role for the benefit of all.
For nearly a decade, I have been at the helm of one of Britain’s leading businesses – John Lewis, a company renowned for sharing its success with its partners. Similarly, the progress of the Local Enterprise Partnership has been built on teamwork spanning industries, political parties and the different towns and cities of the area.
This is exactly what is needed from the new mayor.
We must not squander this opportunity. The region faces a stark choice: do we embrace this renaissance by growing the economy in a way which benefits everybody and thus become Britain’s Powerhouse? Or, do we look backwards? There is only one answer. If I’m the candidate, I will work tirelessly to make this happen.
Mr Street was a member of the Prime Minister’s Business Advisory Group until 2015 and is currently lead non-executive director on the board of the Department for Communities and Local Government.
Born in Banbury, Oxfordshire, in June 1963, his family moved to the West Midlands when he was a few months old. He lived in Northfield and Solihull until going to study Politics, Philosophy and Economics at Keble College, Oxford, where he became president of the Oxford University Conservative Association.
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