The West Midlands can become the lynchpin for the national economic recovery, as plans to create a Combined Authority move forward.
Council leaders from the four Black Country councils and Birmingham have made an agreement in principle to work as a Combined Authority in a move which will attract hundreds of millions of pounds of investment to create jobs and improve transport links.
Leaders moving the West Midlands Combined Authority forward published its plans for the future at a launch event this month (July).
The WMCA would see Birmingham, Coventry, Dudley, Sandwell, Solihull, Walsall and Wolverhampton councils working together with neighbouring district and county councils and the three Local Enterprise Areas (LEPs) of the Black Country, Coventry and Warwickshire and Greater Birmingham and Solihull working together. And with a population of four million, the WMCA would be the largest combined authority in the UK and the second biggest economy area, after London.
The move will ensure the region makes a full contribution both to the UK’s economic recovery and the re-balancing of the national economy. They have also emphasised the plans will create a better deal for local people and will not impact on the day to day delivery of council services by the independent local authorities.
The WMCA has identified five early delivery priorities:
- Developing an overarching Strategic Economic Plan for the West Midlands
- Access to a Finance and Collective Investment Vehicle
- Getting the transport offer right for the long term
- Creation of an economic policy and intelligence capacity
- A joint programme on skills
The WMCA proposes to establish three major new independent commissions to help shape the future of the Combined Authority. It will be seeking support from government to deliver these commissions. They are:
- The West Midlands Productivity Commission
- The West Midlands Land Commission
- The West Midlands Commission on Mental Health and Public Services
Additional details regarding the early delivery priorities and commissions can be found within the Statement of Intent.
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Joined up thinking around a Combined Authority
Leading councillors in Dudley will have an in-depth understanding of how a Combined Authority will benefit the borough, after an all-party working group was created.
Council chiefs at Dudley Council have moved to set up a working group to ensure all political parties understand what closer working with other councils across the West Midlands will involve.
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Combined Authority - Questions and Answers
To help ensure people have an understanding of what a Combined Authority is, we've prepared the following Questions and Answers.
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