Andy Street - Mayor of the West Midlands
Cllr Ian Brookfield - Portfolio Holder for Economy
After forging a position as the fastest-growing region outside London in the decade to 2019 and breaking through the £100 billion economic output mark, the region’s industrial mix and demography meant we were hit particularly hard by the economic impact of the Covid pandemic and new trade frictions with the EU. The West Midlands Plan for Growth sets the path to returning to that trajectory, spreading opportunity and jobs across the region and helping level-up the UK.
Clean and inclusive economic growth is driven by the private sector, with public authorities helping to create the conditions for investment and prosperity. In the West Midlands, we know that must be a joint effort. The private sector plays a critical role, finding commercial opportunity, driving investment and creating wealth. The Combined Authority brings regional leadership with a scale and simplicity helpful to business while also reflecting the different needs and opportunities of different towns, cities and rural areas across the region. It has proved effective in setting long-term direction and confidence, along with troubleshooting immediate issues such as the response to the pandemic, EU withdrawal and dealing with energy price increases.
Working in conjunction with local authorities and universities as local anchor institutions, the Combined Authority will deliver conditions for growth through:
- New powers over economic development – Investing £88m from the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, targeting the £33m West Midlands Innovation Accelerator, the £23m Commonwealth Games Business and Tourism Programme and leading a rejuvenated business support system that capitalises on the private sector offer and expertise across the West Midlands.
- Transport investment - Investing in transport corridors that drive development with £363 million invested in 2021/2022 and over £1 billion in transport funding secured for the next five years.
- Housing and land investment - Making our mark with over £600 million of devolved housing and land funds secured, hundreds
of hectares of land unlocked and a revolution in brownfield development.
- Pioneering new approaches to regeneration – Bringing affordable, modular and net zero homes to our towns and cities.
- Skills - Delivering a £130 million annual Adult Education Budget (AEB), contributing to an almost 10% increase in 2020 alone in the proportion of the population with Level 3 skills.
- Working with investors – Securing partnerships with investors to deliver growth and realise strong Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) commitments that boost investment, like the long-term agreements with major developers like L&G which will see £billions of private, patient capital invested across the region.
- Net zero - Committing ourselves to a regional net zero target by 2041 and pursuing landmark innovations in transport mobility, zero carbon buildings, smart local energy systems, the environment and affordable housing.
Earlier this year government launched its ground-breaking Levelling-Up White Paper with the promise to spread opportunity across the United Kingdom, tackle inter- and intra-regional imbalances and succeed in its twelve Missions by 2030.
The White Paper gave the West Midlands the chance to secure a ‘Trailblazing Devolution Deal’. This vote of confidence in us will provide another critical weapon as we seek to seize new funding opportunities, develop our critical cluster growth opportunities and put our economy back on the path to strong growth.