Devolution deal is proving to be great news for the West Midlands- Sajid Javid
Communities Secretary Sajid Javid today (28th October 2016) welcomed progress local leaders across the West Midlands have made to use the powers and funding they have through their ground-breaking devolution deal.
Mr Javid was in Birmingham to meet local leaders almost a year since their ground-breaking deal was signed – handing over significant powers from Westminster covering issues such as transport, planning, skills and the environment.
The deal also includes the recent transfer of over £36million new money to the area – the first annual payment from a total of over £1billion due over the next 30 years.
Communities Secretary Sajid Javid said: “As a West Midlands MP I’ve seen for myself the real difference this devolution deal is making just a year after it was signed – and the real impact it can continue to have.
“With the first elections for a Mayor happening in May there is real momentum behind this deal, ensuring this vital part of the Midlands Engine continues to lead in creating jobs and opportunity with the financial boost that devolution brings.”
Commenting on the meeting, Cllr Bob Sleigh, WMCA chair, said: “We have had a very productive meeting with the Secretary of State this morning, during which we were able to update him on the progress made under our existing devolution deal.
“This deal is already driving our long term strategic economic plan to help secure not just a more prosperous West Midlands but a stronger and better balanced UK economy.
“But we believe we can do even more as part of a second devolution deal – and we have suggested to the Secretary of State today how that could include new and wider powers on transport, data and skills.”
The next steps of the deal were also discussed, including:
• The final steps for putting in place the necessary legislation so that powers can transfer from Government to the West Midlands mayor and the combined authority
• The vital role of the private sector, working with councils, in shaping the investment priorities in the West Midland to make sure that it leads to jobs and opportunities
• The West Midlands’ ideas for further devolution over time and reform of public services to better meet the needs of local people.
As part of efforts to deliver an economy that works for everyone and every part of the country, the Government is devolving wide-ranging powers directly from Whitehall to local people who know their area best.
In return the Government requires that strong governance arrangements are in place to ensure local leaders are directly accountable to the people they serve. In May 2017, voters in the West Midlands will get their first chance to vote for a mayor for the region, to be directly accountable for the additional funding and powers that comes with the devolution deal.
The West Midlands devolution deal is one of nine across the country, from the Tees Valley and Liverpool City Region in the Northern Powerhouse, to Cornwall in the south west.
Attending the meeting with Sajid Javid were:
• Cllr Bob Sleigh, Chair of WMCA and Leader of Solihull MBC
• Cllr Peter Lowe, Vice Chair of WMCA and Leader of Dudley Council
• Cllr John Clancy, Economic Growth lead for WMCA and Leader of Birmingham City Council
• Cllr Steve Eling, Public Service Reform lead for WMCA and Leader of Sandwell Council
• Cllr George Duggins, Skills and Productivity lead for WMCA and Leader of Coventry City Council
• Cllr Sean Coughlan, Housing & Land lead for WMCA and Leader Walsall Council
• Cllr Roger Lawrence, Transport lead for WMCA and Leader of Wolverhampton City Council
• Jonathan Browning, Chair of Coventry & Warwickshire LEP
• Stewart Towe, Chair of Black Country LEP
• Steve Hollis, Chair of Greater Birmingham & Solihull LEP
The West Midlands devolution deal includes:
• GainShare funding of £36.5m per year for 30 years
• Multi-year transport budget, bus franchising powers and Key Route Network
• Strategic planning powers
• Devolved 19+ skills funding
• Business Rates additional growth retention pilot
• Co-commissioning of Work and Health Programme and innovative employment pilot
• Ability to develop Clean Air Zone