Now North Warks Coun­cil backs the com­bined au­thor­ity

Warwickshire Telegraph - - NEWS - Si­mon Gilbert Chief Re­porter si­mon.gilbert@coven­try­tele­

NORTH War­wick­shire Bor­ough Coun­cil has for­mally pledged its al­le­giance to the new West Mid­lands Com­bined Au­thor­ity.

The coun­cil has fol­lowed in the foot­steps of War­wick­shire County Coun­cil and Strat­ford District Coun­cil by per­form­ing a U-turn on its ini­tial stance of stay­ing out of the part­ner­ship - com­monly re­ferred to as ‘Greater Birm­ing­ham.’

North War­wick­shire will be­come a mi­nor mem­ber of the au­thor­ity along with fel­low War­wick­shire dis­tricts Strat­ford and Nuneaton and Bed­worth.

Rugby and War­wick coun­cils are ex­pected to even­tu­ally fol­low their War­wick­shire coun­ter­parts into the WMCA - with War­wick­shire County Coun­cil set to be be­come a full con­stituent mem­ber by 2017.

The WMCA is headed up by seven metropoli­tan coun­cils - Birm­ing­ham, Coven­try, Sandwell, Dud­ley, Wal­sall, Wolver­hamp­ton and Solihull. It is be­ing formed in a bid to gain powers and fund­ing from cen­tral govern­ment un­der devolution plans and will be over­seen by a West Mid­lands metro mayor.

Speak­ing about the change in pol­icy fol­low­ing a vote this week, North War­wick­shire leader Coun David Humphreys, said: “All elected members agreed that it is in North War­wick­shire’s in­ter­ests to have a seat at the table when ma­jor de­ci­sions are be­ing made that could af­fect our area.

“This is just the start of the process but the coun­cil has autho­rised the chief ex­ec­u­tive, deputy leader and my­self to have dis­cus­sions with the WMCA.

“This will en­sure we get the best out of the new powers and money they have re­ceived, so that the in­ter­ests of the bor­ough are pro­tected and en­hanced.”

Leader of the Labour op­po­si­tion, Coun Adam Far­rell, said the move had cross-party sup­port.

He said: “In order to get our fair share we need to be round the table. The vote the coun­cil has now taken will en­able us to do just that.

“Now that we are a mem­ber of the com­bined au­thor­ity it is re­ally im­por­tant North War­wick­shire de­vel­ops a plan of what ser­vices and in­fra­struc­ture we want de­liv­ered through the devolution deal.”

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