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City regions swing behind metro mayors as West Midlands joins devolution race

City regions swing behind metro mayors as West Midlands joins devolution race

🕔15.Sep 2015

The West Midlands is one of 38 city regions across Britain in the race to secure a devolution deal from the Government, and council leaders may already have agreed in principle to have an elected metro mayor according to authoritative reports, writes Paul Dale.

Officially, the leaders of the seven West Midlands metropolitan councils are claiming no deal has been done on the question of whether the region will have a metro mayor in return for an extensive devolution deal.

Birmingham council leader Sir Albert Bore told a scrutiny committee that nothing had been ruled in or out and that he and his colleagues wanted to see “the colour of your money” when negotiating with the Chancellor to get the best offer on the table.

However, the Financial Times has reported that all large city regions have agreed in principle to have a metro mayor in return for powers over economic development, transportation, skills and in some cases local health services.

The West Midlands metropolitan councils submitted proposals for an £8 billion devolution deal to the Treasury a week ago and discussions with civil servants and ministers are underway ahead of an announcement in the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement.

The region’s shadow combined authority is up against stiff competition to secure a share of the Government’s devolution cash.

The Treasury has received 38 bids already from major cities and regions from across the country for what it said were “plans to devolve powers from Whitehall and into the hands of local people and businesses” and deliver the Government’s “to rebalance the economy and provide opportunity for all”.

A Treasury spokesman said:

The volume of bids clearly demonstrates the significant appetite to be part of a devolution revolution across the country, with local leaders signing up in droves to the Chancellor’s vision of an accountable elected mayor leading strong regional areas who look after their own affairs.

The 38 bids received ahead of the deadline last Friday include the application for powers in a wide range of spending areas including education, transport, healthcare, housing and business support.

David Cameron, the Prime Minister, said:

The best businesses would never shy away from allowing their customers to shape the way they improve their services. If we are bold enough, government can go one better by actually putting many of those services in the hands of local people.

It is also a proven reality that money spent closer to people is often money spent wiser – so we can really deliver more for less.

The 38 cities and city regions submitting devolution deals:

1 Aberdeen
2 Cardiff
3 Cheshire and Warrington
4 Cornwall
5 Cumbria
6 Dorset
7 ‘D2N2’ – Derbyshire, Derby, Nottinghamshire and Nottingham
8 Edinburgh
9 Gloucestershire
10 Greater Brighton
11 Greater Essex
12 Greater Lincolnshire
13 Greater Manchester
14 Greater Yorkshire
15 Hampshire & Isle of Wight
16 Heart of the South West
17 Herefordshire
18 Hull, Yorkshire, Leeds City Region and the Northern Powerhouse
19 Inverness & Highland City
20 Leeds City Region
21 Leicester and Leicestershire
22 Liverpool City Region
23 London
24 Norfolk
25 Northamptonshire
26 North East
27 Oxfordshire
28 Sheffield City Region
29 Surrey, West Sussex & East Sussex
30 Swindon
31 Suffolk
32 Tees Valley
33 Telford & Wrekin
34 West Midlands
35 West of England
36 Wiltshire
37 Worcestershire
38 York, North Yorkshire and East Riding

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