Communities Secretary Sajid Javid today 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.
Secretary of State for Communities & Local Government Sajid Javid met the WMCA Board to discuss devolution
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:
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.