Devolution

The second Devolution Deal between government and the West Midlands Combined Authority was announced in the Chancellor’s Autumn Budget Statement on 22 November 2017.

The deal reflects the further transfer of powers and resources to a body at the heart of a region responsible for almost a third of all new private sector jobs in the UK over the last 12 months.

It recognises that the West Midlands is outperforming others in terms of start-ups and economic growth, and lays the foundations to further improve this performance.

The agreement includes funding to create a Delivery Team to drive an ambitious house-building programme, and investment in high-tech economic sectors.

The new Housing Delivery Team will help the West Midlands unlock the 200,000 new homes needed in the region by 2031 and is supported by a £5m investment to expand construction skills.

It puts the region at the vanguard of accessing the £44bn earmarked for housing and infrastructure by the Chancellor in his budget.

To support jobs growth in emerging technologies, the deal commits to the West Midlands’ role as a global centre for new automotive development such as in electric and driverless cars.

This builds on the West Midlands’ existing strengths in this sector, focused around Coventry, but with wider benefits to the whole region.

The WMCA recently secured £31m of government investment to undertake testing of driverless vehicles on key routes in the region, working alongside the private sector and has an £80m bid for a battery research and development institute currently being considered.

Among the other measures in the devolution deal are:

  • The confirmation of £250m for transport infrastructure which will be used for the extension of the Midland Metro from Wednesbury to Brierley Hill. This includes support for the transfer of ownership of the non-operational section of the Round Oak to Walsall railway route.
  • Establishing one of the first Skills Advisory Panels that will create new local partnerships to plan investment in skills around local labour market needs.
  • A proposal to combine the Police and Crime Commissioner role into the responsibilities of the Mayor in time for elections in 2020.
  • The creation of a digital hub in Birmingham as part of the TechNation programme and a share of a £2m pilot for Coventry and Warwickshire for ultra-fast broadband roll-out.
  • Approval for the Housing First pilot to take place in the West Midlands, a new approach to tackling rough sleeping in the region.
  • A commitment to work alongside government to identify new funding opportunities to deliver high quality cycle infrastructure to achieve the aim of raising levels of cycling across the region to 5% by 2023.
  • A commitment to work with the WMCA, Urban Growth Company and HS2 to ensure the maximum benefit from UK Central in Solihull.
  • Funding to develop a business case to create a Regional Integrated Control Centre to improve resilience on the road, rail and tram networks.
  • Continuing support for the work of the Mental Health Commission Thrive West Midlands.

You can download the full devolution agreement here.