West Midlands secures £1.2 billion devolution deal

The West Midlands has won a devolution deal, receiving £1.2 billion in spending power from the government which it will use over the next 30 years.

Chancellor George Osborne recently met with local council leaders to sign the deal, which will cover an area with the potential to expand to four million people and an economy worth £80 billion annually. 

Osborne said: “We want to make the Midlands Britain’s engine for growth, and this deal will give the region the powerful levers it needs to make that happen.

“We have worked with local council leaders across the party divide, and today we are announcing a collaborative way of working that would not have been countenanced in this region even just a few years ago.”

The region is set to receive around £36 million per year over 30 years, in addition to £97 million for a tram extension, to create a fund that would bring in private sector investment. While other areas have received £30 million, the West Midlands have argued its size merits more money. 

The city will gain powers over policing, skills, business support and transport including bus regulation. 

The shadow West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) involves seven metropolitan councils from Wolverhampton to Coventry, including five Labour and two Conservative controlled. Three boroughs have also joined.

The Black Country, Greater Birmingham and Coventry and Warwickshire local enterprise partnership (LEP), private sector-led development bodies covering an even wider area have also signed up. 

Councillor Bob Sleigh, chair of the WMCA’s shadow board, said: “This is a historic moment for the West Midlands. We have moved incredibly quickly to create the partnership between the seven metropolitan councils and our three LEPs and we are delighted the government has recognised this and has rewarded our ambition with the biggest investment package in the country.”

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