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Chartered accountants are right up Andy's street

The newly-elected Mayor of the West Midlands has a challenge for ICAEW chartered accountants – he wants to recruit 1,000 small business mentors.

At the ICAEW pre-election hustings in Birmingham Mr Street told members: "The best thing you can have is quality advice. I want 1,000 business mentors and I want each one of you to sign up to be business mentors".

Mr Street, the Conservative candidate, became the region’s first elected mayor after beating Labour’s Sian Simon by a narrow margin in a vote which is widely regarded as indicative of the outcome of next month’s General Election.

Mr Street, former managing director of John Lewis and chairman of the Greater Birmingham Local Enterprise Partnership, won by 3,766 votes after second preference votes were taken into account. He said his victory was the "rebirth of the new urban Conservative agenda".

He is likely to be encouraged by Theresa May’s aide Nick Timothy, another Brummie, who believes the Conservatives should emulate the policies of Birmingham’s "forgotten hero", Victorian Mayor Joseph Chamberlain.

At the ICAEW pre-election event, Mr Street said he wanted the region to go from being an economic laggard to becoming a leader. His aim was to drive the region’s productivity, invest in infrastructure, bringing disused railway lines back into use, and build 25,000 homes in the next three years.

Asked where the money would come from, Mr Street said it was necessary to encourage private sector investment by finding innovative ways of funding. And public sector contracts should have a requirement for employers to take on apprentices.

Mr Street said the job of Mayor was a "leadership role that brings all of our talents together" and "I have done it – I have shown I can make it happen".