Re­gion to bid for sec­ond devo deal from govern­ment

Birmingham Post - - NEWS - Jonathan Walker Po­lit­i­cal Ed­i­tor

THE West Mid­lands is to be­gin ne­go­ti­a­tions with the govern­ment to se­cure a sec­ond devo­lu­tion deal for the re­gion.

Coun­cil lead­ers and West Mid­lands mayor Andy Street are ex­pected to ask for more fund­ing, as well as lo­cal con­trol over the £100-mil­liona-year skills bud­get as well as pow­ers to build more homes on land which is cur­rently un­used.

Mr Street set out the re­gion’s pro­pos­als in a let­ter to min­is­ters two weeks ago.

Greg Clark, the Sec­re­tary of State for Busi­ness, En­ergy and In­dus­trial Strat­egy, con­firmed plans for a sec­ond devo­lu­tion deal in a speech at the Uni­ver­sity of Birm­ing­ham.

He high­lighted the elec­tion of the first ever West Mid­lands mayor earli- er this year, say­ing: “It is a par­tic­u­lar thrill for me that the West Mid­lands now has, in Andy Street, an elected mayor able to lead this re­gion for­ward.

“I say a par­tic­u­lar thrill be­cause my time in govern­ment has been mo­ti­vated by the con­vic­tion that our fu­ture suc­cess, not just as an econ­omy but as a so­ci­ety, should be found- ed on the re­gional strengths lo­cal lead­er­ship that has been source of pros­per­ity in the past.”

The first devo­lu­tion deal, agreed in 2015, gave the West Mid­lands £1.1 bil­lion over 30 years.

But Mr Clark said: “Andy and I have al­ways be­lieved that the West Mid­lands devo­lu­tion deal should be the foun­da­tion, not the end point, of fur­ther em­pow­er­ment of the re­gion as a vi­tal part of our in­dus­trial strat­egy. The mayor wrote to the govern­ment two weeks ago set­ting out pro­pos­als for fur­ther devo­lu­tion of pow­ers.

“I am de­lighted to an­nounce to­day that we will be­gin talks with the mayor and the lo­cal au­thor­i­ties over the com­ing weeks, with a view to agree­ing a fur­ther devo­lu­tion pack­age that will en­sure that he has the pow­ers he needs to sup­port de­liv­ery of the in­dus­trial strat­egy in the West Mid­lands.” and the

> Cabi­net min­is­ter Greg Clark

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