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West Midlands metro mayor consultation – how to have your say

West Midlands metro mayor consultation – how to have your say

🕔30.Jun 2016

Members of the public will get the chance to have their say on the West Midlands metro mayor.

A seven week consultation on the powers and responsibilities to be handed to the mayor is being organised by the West Midlands Combined Authority and begins on Monday 4th July.

Anyone interested in making their views known can log onto the WMCA website from Monday.

Feedback forms will also be available in libraries and public buildings.

The metro mayor will be elected in May 2017 and will chair the combined authority cabinet.

Only Labour among the main political parties has put any names forward with MEP Siôn Simon going head to head for selection with former Birmingham city councillor Steve Bedser.

Labour, favourites to win the metro mayor election, whittled down a shortlist of four candidates to just two names which may cause controversy among some party members since both are white males in a region with a large BME population.

The West Midlands Combined Authority, consisting of the seven metropolitan councils as well as a number of adjoining shire districts and counties, has published a draft scheme setting out what it thinks the role of the mayor should be, but the final decision rests with the Government.

The proposals place severe limitations on the mayor’s powers and makes it clear that most of the key decisions will be taken jointly by the mayor and council leaders.

The proposed rules state:

The cabinet will examine the mayor’s draft annual budget and the plans, policies and strategies, as determined by the Mayoral WMCA, and will be able to reject them if two-thirds of the Mayoral WMCA cabinet agree to do so.

In the event that the Mayoral WMCA rejects the proposed budget then the Mayoral WMCA shall propose an alternative budget for acceptance by the cabinet, subject to a two-thirds majority of those present and voting. The mayor shall not be entitled to vote on the alternative Mayoral WMCA proposed budget.

The mayor will have responsibility for a devolved and consolidated transport budget and for a franchised bus service. As part of the mayoral budget, the consolidated transport budget will be subject to the examination of the cabinet and can be rejected if two-thirds of the cabinet decide to do so.

All transport, economic development and regeneration functions already carried out by the combined authority, including functions of the former passenger transport authority Centro, will remain the sole responsibility of WMCA, not the mayor.

WMCA announced its cabinet portfolios yesterday, underlining the point that those chosen will not have delegated responsibility. 

The draft scheme says “it is not appropriate that the mayor is required to vote in favour as such functions are local authority functions, exercised concurrently in parallel and with the local authorities”.

Similarly, proposals to set up HS2 Growth Development Corporations will be the responsibility of the combined authority. The mayor, as chair of the WMCA cabinet, gets a vote, but cannot overrule the council leaders.

The mayor will be entitled to put forward proposals to the WMCA cabinet, but two-thirds of members present and voting must vote in favour.

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