Two days after the West Midlands Combined Authority launched its plans to become an economic powerhouse the Chancellor, George Osborne, gave it his personal backing in his budget statement.
In the July 8 budget the Chancellor stated:
“The government strongly supports the recent publication of a West Midlands Statement of Intent for devolution, which sets out ambitious proposals for a strong and coherent West Midlands Combined Authority.”
Councillor Darren Cooper, Leader of Sandwell Council and spokesperson for the WMCA, welcomed the Chancellor’s comments. He said:
“We are delighted with the Chancellor’s commitment in his budget to ‘devolve powers to the West Midlands’. This will help us grow the economy faster, not just across three LEP geography of our Combined Authority, but also as part of the wider Midlands Engine. We are setting up the new West Midlands Combined Authority to show that we are fully committed to agreeing a devolution deal that will help close the £16b productivity gap in our region – and drive growth, reform and prosperity for local people.”