The West Midlands will have its own elected mayor in 2017 following a "historic" devolution agreement announced today.
Members of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) met with Chancellor George Osborne and Business Secretary Sajid Javid at The Institute for Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering’s manufacturing hub in Coventry today to pledge their support to an agreement that will unlock more than £1bn in Government investment and result in the appointment of a metro-mayor.
Members set to be included in the new authority will include Birmingham, Coventry, Dudley, Sandwell, Solihull, Walsall and Wolverhampton.
The mayor, once elected, will chair the regional authority.
Speaking at the launch, Chancellor George Osborne said the move would be of benefit to business and manufacturing throughout the Midlands.
“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,” he said.
“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.”
Cllr Bob Sleigh, chair of the shadow board of the West Midlands Combined Authority, also commented: “We are committed to building on our strengths, including our exports and our inward investment, and to working towards increasing the £80bn that the region currently contributes to the UK economy.
“This proposed deal, which must be agreed by each individual authority, allows us to keep more of the income that we generate and to re-invest it across the region, without the need to refer back to government.”
Speaking at the launch, Carl Perrin, director of AME said: “By working in partnership, we have created the UK’s First ‘Faculty on the Factory Floor’, where 60 students are now working towards their degrees and pioneering R&D work has been matured to commercial reality, already creating tens of new jobs in the region.
“Along the way, AME has received significant support from Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership in turning our exciting vision into reality and we believe the closer Government and the local authorities can all work together the better.”