Prime Minister Theresa May was greeted by West Midlands Combined Authority chair Cllr Bob Sleigh as the Conservative Party Conference opened in Birmingham.
Cllr Sleigh met Mrs May last night (Sunday October 2) during a reception at the city’s International Convention Centre, hosted by the West Midlands Conservative Party.
He told delegates that the West Midlands was the UK’s most entrepreneurial region – and very much open for business.
WMCA chair Cllr Bob Sleigh with Prime Minister Theresa May at the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham
He said: “I am delighted that this year’s Conservative Party Conference is being hosted by Birmingham, right at the heart of the country, giving you the chance to meet people here and understand the scope of our ambitions.
“We are looking forward to this as an opportunity for us and our partners in both the public and private sectors to build fresh relationships with new ministerial teams and decision makers.
“The West Midlands has long been an economic driver for both the UK and Europe and the formation of the Combined Authority has instilled confidence and encouraged even greater aspirations for the region.
“Government is urging us to be ambitious and we are. Our vision is an ambitious West Midlands working with government to deliver major investment that will guarantee future prosperity.”
Cllr Sleigh said the combined authority was pleased with the Devolution Agreement it had negotiated with the government.
The deal will unlock £8bn of investment into the region over the next 30 years, delivering the means to finance the combined authority’s goals of creating up to half a million jobs, meeting future housing demand and boosting people’s health and wellbeing.
But in an open letter to the Prime Minister earlier last week Cllr Sleigh said: “We are happy with that – but we are also very clear that we see it as just the start.
“We are looking for more and we want to show government how, by working together towards greater devolution, we can make a real difference to the people, businesses and organisations we represent – also helping to meet your social and economic goals.”