Voters urged to ‘be part of history’ as polls open for region's first elected Mayor

People across the metropolitan West Midlands have been urged to vote in today’s (Thursday May 4) historic mayoral election and have their say in shaping a more prosperous future.

Polling stations remain open until 10pm tonight for people to cast their vote and choose the region’s first ever elected Mayor to oversee the on-going transfer of powers from Westminster to the West Midlands.

The Mayor will chair the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) and will have strategic powers on issues such as transport, housing and economic growth.

Martin Reeves, interim chief executive of the WMCA and returning officer for the election, said: “The Mayor will be pivotal in securing further powers for the West Midlands so decisions bringing more jobs, more homes and better transport can be made right here on our home turf.

“That’s why it’s important that people don’t miss this opportunity to help shape a more prosperous West Midlands and I would encourage them to go to the polls today, make their mark and be part of history.”

The role of Mayor is being introduced as part of the devolution deal agreed between the West Midlands and government that will not only see the transfer of certain powers from Westminster but also a £1.1 billion funding package over 30 years.

This will be used for new transport infrastructure, the clean-up of former industrial land for housing and commercial development, improving skills and productivity and tackling mental health issues.

Today’s mayoral election will see votes cast in Birmingham, Coventry, Dudley, Sandwell, Solihull, Walsall and Wolverhampton.

Each of the local authority results will be collated by the returning officer for the mayoral election at the Barclaycard Arena in Birmingham tomorrow (Friday May 5), where the winner will be declared.

Voters have six candidates to choose from:

James Burn - Green Party
Pete Durnell - UK Independence Party (UKIP)
Beverley Anne Nielsen - Liberal Democrats
Siôn Llewelyn Simon – Labour and Co-operative Party
Graham John Stevenson - Communist
Andy Street – The Conservative Party Candidate
For more information about the role and powers of the Mayor and the West Midlands Combined Authority, as well as further details about the mayoral election itself, visit www.wmcaelects.co.uk