Why am I standing?
I am Josh Simons and I'm the Director of Labour Together, a network of politicians, strategists, and thinkers working to build Labour's vision for the future of the UK. I live with my wife, Leah, and my daughter, Essie, in Greater Manchester.
Three generations of my family were born and raised in Manchester.
Growing up, my Dad held down three jobs to support his family, driving every night across Middleton, Broughton, Kersal, and Bury to deliver Warburtons bread to families before they woke up. His Dad worked in Prestwich Hospital and led one of Manchester’s first branches of the Confederation of Health Service Employees. And before that, his Dad made this area his home after fleeing Russia for being a Jew and the wrong kind of communist!
This community gave my family everything.
But it wasn’t just hard work that enabled my Dad to provide for himself and his family, it was a world-class local education and health service. My Dad is why I believe Labour’s values - equality, opportunity, and solidarity - are central to rebuilding and renewing our communities.
I now want to make sure my children have the same opportunities.
Our generation has had it tough. We face stagnant wages alongside soaring costs of rent, food, and education, and a mental health crisis exacerbated by the pandemic. And for our children, it’s only going to get tougher. Sometimes I imagine the world when my daughter is my age, in 2050, and it terrifies me: an unstable world and a transformed climate.
We must face these challenges together over the coming decades. We need to build a more secure and resilient country.
We need a Labour government.
We can only take action to improve our communities if we win.
Think about this. People in my generation have never been able to vote for a Labour Party that has won power. Never.
Like so many others, I am tired of missed opportunities, tired of watching Tories break their promises to spread opportunity and invest in our communities, tired of being led by people who think it’s one rule for them and another for us.
And we can only win if we unite.
Every year as I’ve grown up, I’ve watched infighting and division destroy our chances of winning. I want to bring my unusual set of skills and experiences to help change that, for my community, for my generation, and for my country.
I know how to bring people together.
After my parents divorced, I grew up with people from different backgrounds in different parts of the country. One side were working-class Jews, the other stubborn Scots. From the start, I learned how to respect and value different people.
I have practical experience of what it takes to win.
Working on referendums, general and local elections, and presidential elections has taught me that winning is about starting where voters are and assembling coalitions that go beyond your base. I've learned how to combine the best of Labour’s traditions and talents, to convince voters we’ve lost that Labour can once again be trusted with power.
And I have spent my career wrestling with the issues that will shape the future.
Whether in organisations I lead like Labour Together, or have helped create, like the Civic Power Fund, or my academic work, I have been working to develop the narrative and policies Labour need to lead Britain into the future.
I want to help us unify around a single goal: beating the Tories and getting Labour MP back in Government. I want to involve disillusioned members from my generation, rebuild trust with the Jewish community so we can again project moral leadership, and activate the majority of members who want Labour back in government.
This is why I am standing.
I want to use my values and experience to help show Labour is once again led by patriotic and talented people, motivated above all by hope for the future and a commitment to improving our communities and our country.
Let's unite our party to get Labour back in government.
To make our area and our country better, Labour needs to win again.
And to win again, we must unite and make change together.
My campaign aims to empower activists and members to harness the best of local residents, businesses, and community groups.
That means we have to work together. Whether it's supporting local campaigns, phone banking, distributing leaflets, helping voters register and vote by post, or simply letting me know about the issues you're concerned about - every action makes a difference.
We are lucky enough to live in a democracy - change happens when we work together to achieve it.
Investing in our communities
Our communities suffered more than they had to in this pandemic.
For a decade, Tories have promised to "Level Up" and spread wealth and opportunities to communities like ours.
Instead, they have presided over a decade of cuts to vital public services, leaving them under-resourced and under-staffed in this pandemic, kept going only by the resilient and determination of key workers.
The austerity model has failed. It’s time to do things differently.
Over the coming years, we have an opportunity to mount a response that matches the scale of the crises we will face. I will secure sustained investment in our high streets and public spaces, schools and hospitals, social care centres and libraries.
A better future of work
For too long, we have allowed our economies to rely on teachers and nurses, transportation workers and delivery drivers, local government officers and administrative workers, without properly valuing the work they do.
Too many people work hard without getting the income or respect they deserve.
I have spent my career wrestling with how technologies are changing the world of work and what we can do about it.
We have to start by making sure that work pays. Then we must ensure nobody is blocked from the workforce by the decision to start a family: everyone should have access to free childcare before kids are eligible for school. And then we afford the same legal protections for everyone, treating all gig and part-time workers under the same legal category.
Harnessing digital technology
I have spent my career ensuring that digital technology is used to solve practical problems communities face.
Heywood, Rochdale, Middleton and Bury were the centre of the Industrial Revolution: the inventor of the flying shuttle was born in Bury and the Co-operative movement was born in Rochdale.
We need to provide the infrastructure and ecosystem of innovation that enables start-up digital businesses to thrive. All residents should have access to 4G and 5G networks and full fibre broadband by 2025. And we should build on local strengths, including new high-tech manufacturing sites and STEM colleges.
But we should also use technology to solve practical problems, like enabling those suffering from mental health crises to connect with the proper support, or by using the Early Years App to help young parents, and Street Bump to help identify and fix potholes.
Real action on climate change
Last year, our Council declared a climate emergency and pledged to ensure everyone was living in a high-quality carbon neutral environment by 2038.
We must work together to co-design an ambitious programme of regeneration and improvement to build a healthier, cleaner, more sustainable community.
This means ensuring that local developments put sustainability and our environment first. I have worked with developers to ensure new homes and infrastructure are built not just with profit in mind, but our children's futures.
I will fight to make sure the climate transition engages trade unions, local community groups, and residents associations, and listens to their views, so that we build a greener future together.
Healthy, flourishing people
In our area, average life expectancy and healthy life expectancy are below the average for England, and some persistent pockets of depravation that are among the most severe in the country.
We need to approach health care not just as something you get when you are sick, but a lifelong system to support healthy people. We need to integrate health and social care to deliver joined up public services in each town, building community health hubs that serve as a single point of access for community support, whether children and early adult services, elderly social care, or long-term physical and mental health conditions.
And we need to build an integrated healthcare system with residents’ voices and concerns in mind. I will empower local charities and community groups and make our area a leader across the country in the delivery of local public services.
Want to find out more? Get in touch.