Devolution deal delivers first deposit
Communities Secretary Sajid Javid has announced the transfer of £36.5 million to the new West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) as part of the devolution deal, the first of payments totalling £1.1 billion over the next 30 years according to the Government.
The devolution deal was signed last November, with a requirement for a directly elected mayor as part of the agreement. The Mayor will be elected next November, assuming WMCA achieves statutory approval.
Siôn Simon, for Labour, is the only declared runner but it is widely anticipated that GBSLEP chair Andy Street will run as the Conservative candidate.
Local Government Secretary Sajid Javid said yesterday:
The people of the West Midlands came up with a devolution deal which puts them in charge of driving growth and transforming local services.
Today’s £36.5 million boost is proof that we will equip them with what they need to fire up the Midlands Engine – the ability to boost long-term growth, create jobs, improve skills and invest in transport and innovation.
And with these significant powers coming directly from Westminster to the West Midlands, local people will also now have the chance to head to the polls and vote for a powerful new Mayor to put them into practice.
WMCA chair, Cllr Bob Sleigh, added:
The West Midlands is the manufacturing heartland of the UK and a dynamic exporter of high quality goods and services but we believe there is much economic growth that remains untapped.
That’s why this payment marks the start of an exciting new era in which we will be far better equipped to build on our strengths, improve productivity and skills and deliver the transport infrastructure and new homes our region needs.
It gives us the tools to drive forward the Midlands Engine, helping to unlock growth, jobs and prosperity and ultimately a better quality of life for the four million people of the West Midlands.
The West Midlands devolution deal is one of ten signed across the country – nine of which have directly elected mayors. There has been speculation this week that new PM Theresa May is not as attached to the need for elected mayors in order to do devolution deals, but it is believed this would not affect those already in place including the West Midlands.
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