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20.05.15

Coventry poised to join other West Midlands councils in combined authority

Coventry has moved a step closer to joining Birmingham and local authorities in the Black Country in forming a new West Midlands combined authority.

A report recommending that Coventry joins the new authority will be put to the city council’s cabinet and then a full meeting of the council, after Labour councillors agreed to support the move at a meeting in the Council House.

At the heart of the proposals is likely to be a recommendation that Coventry City Council, alongside other Warwickshire councils in Coventry and Warwickshire’s Local Enterprise Partnership, joins the Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP and Black Country LEP to form a West Midlands Combined Authority.

The new combined authority would then be in a position to take control of the budgets of a number of major areas currently delivered by central government including transport, housing and regeneration.

The West Midlands is the only major urban area in the country without a combined authority, but could become the largest in the country – with a population of four million people – if one is created in the region based on the three LEP areas.

Council leader Cllr Ann Lucas said: “This means power moving from Whitehall to the West Midlands – not from Coventry to Birmingham.

“Coventry City Council would lose none of its current powers as a result of joining a West Midlands Combined Authority, but the city would get a much greater say in making decisions that will help economic growth, regeneration and the region’s future prosperity.

“I think that councils across the West Midlands working together to make decisions about major investment in things like transport can make much better decisions for Coventry than government officials in London can.

“The new government and the new secretary of state are clear that devolution is a priority. If we’re not part of a combined authority we won’t get the extra funding we need to continue to develop the economic growth and success we’ve delivered locally over the past few years.”

(Image source: Kevin Croucher)

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