May 4th represents a real opportunity for Conservatives to change our region for the better. With Andy Street as West Midlands Metro Mayor and Conservative councils across the region working alongside him and in partnership with a Conservative government in Westminster we have a real opportunity to reforge the Midlands economy for the 21st century.

The West Midlands has a lot to be proud of, the birthplace of the industrial revolution, its rich manufacturing heritage, skilled workforce and world famous brands have helped ensure amongst other things it is the only part of the UK to enjoy an export surplus with China. We have always been a trading hub, despite being landlocked, looking to the open seas for business opportunities. Yet, our region’s potential remains unfulfilled, successive Labour local administrations have failed to make the right investments, and lacked the strategic vision and desire to reshape our economy for the post-industrial reality. Complacency has bred misrule, too many local Labour councillors and MPs have seen a seat in the conurbation as a job for life.

Now, on May 4th there is a real chance to change all that, by electing Andy Street as West Midlands Metro Mayor and voting for Conservative councillors across the region to help deliver better quality, more efficient local services and an economy geared for growth and the future. Andy Street isn’t your typical politician, starting out as a trainee he climbed all the way to the top of John Lewis, and oversaw the company’s enormous growth from 2007-16. He has also led the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership and with a lifetime of real business experience gets what the economy need to succeed.

As a candidate he has unveiled a range of commitments to help the private sector create more jobs, retool our workforces and give young people the right skills for the jobs of the future. With his Digital Plan for the West Midlands he has hit the nail on the head. New jobs and growth will be in tech, the digital revolution is here and the West Midlands is ideally placed to take advantage of a rebalancing of the economy outside London. All of that needs the right investments and decision-making, local and national government do not create jobs, but they do shape the conditions which allow the private sector to flourish. Andy Street’s Renewal Plan correctly identifies where regional transport improvements, tackling difficult social problems and supporting key economic sectors can help the wider West Midlands economy grow and make a success of post-Brexit opportunities.

So May 4th really matters for the West Midlands. Conservative-run County Councils in the region have shown what a difference we can make in delivering efficient services and enabling a prosperous local economy. If we can re-elect those County Councils, repeat that success in the West Midlands Combined Authority area by electing Andy Street, and win government in Westminster on June 8th, we have a real chance to make a better life for future generations of Midlanders.