Making Labour a pro-business party was a matter of conviction to me. You can’t be the party of working people without being the party of jobs. And you can’t be the party of jobs without being the party of business.
Profit, success, enterprise – those aren’t dirty words in the Labour Party. They’re what drives Britain on in the world.
My mum was a nurse. She instilled an abiding love of our NHS within me. But my dad worked on a factory floor. From him I learned the importance of opportunity and aspiration. That dual commitment – to public services and to business – define my approach to the economy.
It’s the basis for the partnership that I want to create between government and the private sector. That partnership will be geared towards another thing that is vital for our economy.
One that the Tories have failed on for 12 years. Growth.
It’s a disgrace that Britain is bottom of the OECD’s growth table for the next two years.
Their failure has held the country back. Their lack of planning, their addiction to crisis, their careering from one idea to the next, have set us on a path of decline.
It’s why every crisis hits Britain harder than our competitors. And it’s why things are so tough for businesses and working people.
Under the next Labour government that will change. But I’m also clear about what we won’t do.
Seeking a new deal with the EU wouldn’t be the fix some imagine. Instead, it would each lead to years more wrangling, years more uncertainty.
What we need is to fix the gaps in the government’s Brexit deal – and then make Brexit work. The days of Britain’s model for growth being about cheap labour are over.
We’ll be practical about filling shortages where they are damaging the economy. But the trade-off for any movement in our points-based migration system will be a clear plan to boost skills, training and conditions for workers.
I’ve got three simple priorities for our partnership.
Economic stability, higher skills and green growth. That means sound money in our public finances, a proper plan to train people for work, and ensuring that we don’t just tackle climate change – we seize the economic possibilities it offers.
Through our Green Prosperity Plan, Labour is going to work with business to make Britain a clean growth superpower. We are going to create new jobs, new opportunities, seize new technologies and – yes – create new growth.
If Britain is to win again on the global stage and seize the future, neither the state nor individual businesses can do all the heavy lifting.
Instead, we have to work together.
Our future is a partnership. Only through that partnership can we create growth and opportunity across the country.