WMCA opens consultation on mayoral powers

The newly formed West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) is seeking submissions for a consultation to define the scope of its powers.

The devolved body, which combines Sandwell, Birmingham, Coventry, Dudley, Solihull, Walsall and Wolverhampton councils under the leadership of an elected mayor, was officially launched on 17 June after a week’s delay due to a last-minute objection by a local MP.

The consultation is intended to survey businesses, community groups and residents of the region to get their feedback in developing the Mayoral WMCA Functions Scheme, which lays out how the Mayor and the WMCA board will work together to make decisions.

Cllr Bob Sleigh, chair of the WMCA, said that the WMCA had accepted an elected mayor because of the significance of the deal, which is expected to bring £36.5m a year to the region for the next 30 years, to the region’s economy.

He added: “The idea of a mayor for the WMCA area is to provide a strong voice for the region. They would also be an ambassador for the area, selling it on the global stage. They would be the point of contact when the government want to speak to ‘the West Midlands’ and be responsible for driving the devolution agreement within government and the region.

“The detail in the functions scheme should demonstrate that we have given much thought to how a Mayoral WMCA will work effectively to deliver the devolution agreement.”

The latest edition of PSE features an article by Martin Reeves, CEO of the WMCA and Coventry City Council, on the future of the devolution deal.

A Public Accounts Committee report, published on Friday, warned that the devolution process is still ‘unclear and inconsistent’, which could affect the mayoral elections due to take place in May 2017.

The consultation is open until 21 August. To take part, click here.

(Image c. Steve N)

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