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Clancy gets key economic brief as WMCA hands out cabinet portfolios

Clancy gets key economic brief as WMCA hands out cabinet portfolios

🕔29.Jun 2016

Birmingham city council leader John Clancy has been handed an important economic development role by the new West Midlands Combined Authority.

Cllr Clancy will hold the economic growth portfolio in the WMCA cabinet.

He will be responsible for delivery of the strategic economic plans, access to finance for business, the collective investment fund, the combined authority growth company, international trade and exports, digital strategy, arts and cultural activity.

The role, effectively attracting inward investment to the West Midlands, has taken on an even greater urgency following last week’s referendum decision to pull the UK out of the European Union.

Economic output across the West Midlands has for years been below the English average and a key aim of WMCA is to address the imbalance by creating 500,000 new jobs by 2030.

Each of the seven West Midlands metropolitan council leaders has been given a cabinet portfolio.

  • Bob Sleigh, the Tory leader of Solihull council and chair of WMCA, is in charge of the HS2 growth strategy, devolution deals and communications an engagement.
  • Dudley council leader Pete Lowe (Lab) has responsibility for health and wellbeing.
  • Sandwell council leader Steve Eling (Lab) has the public service reform portfolio and will be responsible for developing policies to help troubled families.
  • Walsall council leader Sean Coughlan (Lab) has the housing and land portfolio.
  • Coventry council leader George Duggins (Lab) is in charge of skills and productivity.
  • Wolverhampton council leader Roger Lawrence (Lab) will take the transportation brief with a remit to push forward on expansion of the Midland Metro tram network.

The portfolio holders were announced at today’s inaugural meeting of WMCA, which had to be postponed earlier this month after a Parliamentary delay in giving the combined authority legal status.

A report tabled at the meeting makes it clear that the seven cabinet members will not have executive powers to take decisions or spend money. They can bring forward reports and proposals, but decision making rests with the whole cabinet.

The West Midlands will elect a metro mayor next May who will chair the WMCA cabinet and have limited executive powers over transport, economic development and skills.

Cllr Sleigh said the combined authority would bring a fresh urgency to reforming public services.

He promised further devolution deals with the Government and said WMCA would “make a difference to communities across the region”.

Cllr Sleigh added:

The combined authority will be a strong voice for the region No more so than now, it will be listened to in Whitehall and globally.

We now have a unified West Midlands, something that historically has been missing.

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