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Brexit: Where now for devolution?

Brexit: Where now for devolution?

🕔16.Nov 2018

At the end of one of the most dramatic weeks in British politics, leading political and business figures will gather in Birmingham today to consider progress of devolution and the impact of Brexit, writes Kevin Johnson. 

The Conference on Devolution in England, ‘Mayoral Combined Authorities – What can they do for us?’ will be held at Birmingham’s iCentrum today with speakers including Lord Andrew Adonis, Birmingham City Council leader, Councillor Ian Ward and the country’s leading political and constitutional expert, Professor Vernon Bogdanor.

Discussions will tackle topics including delivering a fairer deal for English regions, the impact of Brexit and its challenges for the West Midlands economy, how to fund and develop devolution, the Industrial Strategy, devolved housing and local energy, as well as the next steps for devolution.

A Q&A session, chaired by Chamberlain Files editor Kevin Johnson, will discuss the impact of Brexit and challenges for the West Midlands economy. Following the events of this ‘week of week’s’ in the long running Brexit saga, it should have a few matters to talk about.

The free event, which is being held in partnership between the Institute for Design and Economic Acceleration (IDEA) and Birmingham City University’s Centre for Brexit Studies, will run between 9.30am and 5.15pm.

Tickets for the free event can be booked here.

Beverley Nielsen, Associate Professor at Birmingham City University and Director of IDEA, who is chairing the day long event, said:

Devolution is promoted as a way to achieve more regional decision-making in England with the aim of delivering greater equality in funding and a more balanced economy.

The formation of Combined Authorities with elected ‘Metro’ Mayors accountable for additional funding and powers transferred from central government to city regions was advocated by George Osborne in May 2015 as a means of achieving this.

The Liberal Democrat candidate in the 2017 West Midlands Metro Mayor election added:

This conference…will explore the Metro Mayors’ impact since their election in 2017 and their ability to influence future prospects for greater regional prosperity. A central question is whether the time is ripe for a new, and fairer, constitutional settlement for the English regions.

The conference comes half way through the term of office for West Midlands Mayor Andy Street and other Metro Mayors.

The event aims to explore how regions can maximise the benefits of the new powers granted to Mayors and the future powers regions should be seeking to achieve.

Among other speakers at the conference today are:

* Jack Dromey, Labour MP for Erdington

* Vicky Pryce, Economist

* Professor Tony Travers, London School of Economics

* Professor Matt Qvortrup, Coventry University

* Julia Goldsworthy, Director of Strategy, WMCA

* Joe Reeves, Director Corporate Affairs, Midland Heart

* Akash Paun, Senior Fellow, Institute for Government

* Marcus Hawley, CEO , Blackswan

* Charlotte Horobin, EEF

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