Leaders in the West Midlands are confident the region’s emerging Combined Authority will prosper in 2016, as plans to deliver on the proposed devolution agreement with government start to take shape.
The West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) launched its Statement of Intent at the beginning of July and last month Leaders celebrated a proposed agreement with government that is the country’s biggest devolution deal to date. The agreement will see government make an annual contribution equivalent to £40 million per annum for 30 years to support an overall investment package worth £8 billion, alongside the creation of up to half a million jobs.
Councillor Bob Sleigh, Chair of the WMCA’s Shadow Board, said: “This has been an historic year for the West Midlands region, as authorities have come together with our Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEP’s) to work across geographic boundaries and sectors to form an embryonic Combined Authority.
“We believe that by working together, and with devolved powers and significant funding commitment from government, we can focus on the issues that really matter to the people and businesses of the West Midlands; growth, jobs, skills, transport and homes.
“We are now talking to government about how we move forward over the next few months and about how we implement the proposals in the agreement. We know for certain that 2016 will be a time for positive action and delivering on our ambitions for the people and the businesses of the West Midlands. We look forward to the challenges ahead.”
Stewart Towe, Chair of the Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “Historically the West Midlands was the workshop of the world and now our challenge is to become the engine of the British economy and forming a Combined Authority is a critical building block to achieving that objective.
“The LEPs in the Black Country, Coventry and Warwickshire and Greater Birmingham and Solihull are proud to be a part of the emerging WMCA as we believe there is already a strong economic foundation to build upon based on recent private sector led growth in our respective LEP areas.”
The West Midlands Combined Authority is based on the geography of the three Local Enterprise Partnerships which cover the Black Country, Coventry and Warwickshire and Greater Birmingham and Solihull. The WMCA is being led by the seven metropolitan councils: Birmingham, Coventry, Dudley, Sandwell, Solihull, Walsall and Wolverhampton.
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