As the late, great, Whitney Houston once said, children are our future.

Ensuring they have the best start in life isn’t just the right thing to do now, it’s the right thing to do for the long-term health and prosperity of the country.

But after 14 years of Conservative rule, children in Tameside and across the country are being badly let down.

British children are not just increasingly seeing worse health outcomes, they are falling behind those in other developed countries.

Our kids are on average, smaller, fatter, and less happy than their international counterparts.

The height of the average British five-year old girl has fallen by 27 places in international rankings over the last three decades, with the average British five-year-old boy having fallen by 33 places on the height league table.

Data around child obesity is similarly stark with the UK estimated to have more obese children than France, Germany, Poland and Slovenia.

This is not a situation we can or should tolerate, we must get a grip of children’s health and do so fast.

It’s why last week I was proud to support the launch of Labour’s Child Health Action Plan, designed to create the healthiest and happiest generation of children ever in Britain.

Whether it’s a junk-food watershed, free breakfast clubs in every primary school, banning vapes being advertised to kids, or a supervised tooth-brushing programme, the measures in this plan will go a long way to turning the tide on the Conservative record of failure.

But physical health only tells part of the story, the mental health crisis facing our children today is heart breaking.

More than 200,000 children across England are on mental health waiting lists, with the system already stretched to breaking point.

It’s why Labour have committed to recruiting thousands more staff to cut waiting lists, introducing specialist mental health support in every single school, and delivering open access children and young people’s mental health hubs in every community.

We want the next generation to be chasing their dreams and reaching their potential, not worrying about when they might be able to see a dentist, or access mental health support.

We cannot afford more of the last 14 years of sticking plaster politics that have utterly failed our children, we need a long-term, radical plan for change, which is exactly what the next Labour government will deliver.

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