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Negotiations set to begin for second West Midlands devo deal

Talks for a devolution deal for the West Midlands are now set to start, business secretary Greg Clark confirmed earlier this week.

Speaking at an event at the University of Birmingham on Monday, the secretary of state for revealed that negotiations will soon begin between West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) and the government with the view to build on the £1bn devolution deal for the area struck in 2015.

Clark added that the 2015 deal, which created the mayoralty in the region as part of a team now led by Andy Street, should act as the foundation, not the end, of further empowerment of the region.

“I am delighted to announce today that we will begin talks immediately with the mayor and the combined authority with a view to creating a further devolution package that will ensure he and the WMCA have the powers they need,” he said.

And Street, who was appointed mayor in May alongside five other regions, commented: “As a region we have been forthright in our message to government that we want to continue the process of devolution in order to deliver jobs, improved wages and prosperity.

“We have therefore acted quickly to put our proposals to government. Today’s response from the secretary of state is excellent news and we look forward to the negotiations.

“We’re determined that this process will help release the potential of this region and demonstrate that it is ‘our time’.”

Following on from Street’s appointment of a deputy mayor back in May and the subsequent creation of a Labour-controlled leadership team in June, he has now also named Sean Pearce as the combined authority’s new finance director.

Pearce, who was plucked from his CFO role at Worcestershire County Council, will be joining a team set to be led by incoming CEO Deborah Cadman. He will work closely with Street and Cadman to drive forward various initiatives, such as the delivery of a capital investment programme as part of the region’s devo deal.

The CA is currently also looking for a strategic director of housing & regeneration and a director skills & productivity.

Top Image: Dominic Lipinski PA Wire

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