The deal, the biggest of its kind so far announced by the government, will see an £8 billion funding package devolved to the region to deliver new jobs, better skills, more housing, quicker transport links and better public services.
Leader of the City of Wolverhampton Council, Roger Lawrence said: “This is a once in a generation opportunity to work with government to get more powers from Whitehall to the West Midlands and to take control of our own economic growth and prosperity. This is about investment in the region, creating new jobs, better skills, more housing, quicker transport links and better public services.
“By working together, we will deliver a single strategic economic plan to deliver the £8 billion investment programme, supported by the investment deal and the other devolved powers and resources which will benefit every part of the region.
“On top of the £868 million of public and private sector investment already either on site or earmarked for the city centre, Wolverhampton will benefit from ‘Devo deal’ opportunities. We know from the work of the Wolverhampton Skills Commission I set up last September that skills improvement is crucial to the success of our city. The deal will see devolved funding and responsibility for administering the 19+ adult skills budget so that we can match local people to skills and local jobs.
“We will also benefit from a £200 million land remediation fund that will enable us to bring brownfield land in the City of Wolverhampton back into use for housing and employment. This has been a major hurdle to investment and development in the past. At present, 11 of the 65 sites we have in the city that are suitable for housing need remediation works. Sorting this means we could build 1,800 more homes. We also have 12 major sites earmarked for employment land in the city and four of these, amounting to some 53 hectares, need remediation.”
“Better transport links and connectivity to HS2 will also boost jobs and growth in our city. HS2 has the potential to add £14 billion to the West Midlands economy as well as creating around 100,000 jobs. Our investment in prime office and retail accommodation at i10, along with the £40 million investment that’s going into the City of Wolverhampton train station, will put us in a good position to seize the benefits.”
“And it’s important to remember that this is just the start. There will be many other future opportunities coming down the track for the City of Wolverhampton and that’s why I’ll be urging fellow councillors to approve these proposals to bring jobs, prosperity and growth to our city.”
Said John Wood, Chair of Wolverhampton’s Economic Growth Board: “Wolverhampton’s business community – large and small – are enthusiastically supportive of these proposals.
“In particular, we welcome the move to devolve funding and investment for skills development and employment which will help local businesses recruit and train skilled local workers, helping companies become more competitive and to grow.
“What makes this proposed devolution deal important is that from the beginning businesses and Local Enterprise Partnerships have been working closely with local political leaders to help determine the plans and to build on the successful work that is already going on to boost economic growth and job creation across our area.”
Stewart Towe, Chair of the Black Country LEP said: “This proposed devolution deal is a real opportunity for the West Midlands, in agreement with Government, to take control of our own economic growth and to continue to work with our partners across the West Midlands including Local Authorities and fellow LEPs Birmingham and Solihull and Coventry and Warwickshire.
“The level of partnership between public and private sector, which is unique to the West Midlands proposed devolution deal, is focused on investing in the region, creating new jobs, improving skills, delivering more homes and dramatically improving transport. This proposed devolution deal will make a real difference to people young and old and to businesses across the West Midlands.”
Caption: Leaders of the West Midlands councils meet with Chancellor George Osborne for today’s historic devolution announcement