Mayoral functions consultation report submitted to government

A report summarising the findings of a public consultation over proposed functions for a mayoral West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) has been delivered to the government.

The consultation asked bodies and groups what they believed was needed for a West Midlands mayor and the WMCA to deliver the devolution agreement from last November.

This will free up millions of pounds for investment in the region over the next three decades.

Areas covered by the proposed powers include transport, housing, developing a low emissions strategy, High Speed 2 (HS2) growth, finance and skills and employment.

More than 1,300 submissions were received in both online and hard copy formats.

Councillor Bob Sleigh, the chair of the WMCA, said:

“The summary of consultation responses shows broad support for how a mayoral combined authority will work to deliver the first devolution deal.

“A condition of our first devolution agreement was an elected mayor.

“We have accepted this because of the significance of the agreement to the region’s economy – an extra £36.5 million a year to the region over the next 30 years – which will unlock an £8 billion investment package.”

The consultation took place between July 4 and August 21 this year.

The area receiving the biggest support for granting mayoral/combined authority functions was transport.

A total of 79% of respondents strongly agreed or agreed with the proposal that by devolving powers the region could create a more efficient, integrated West Midlands transport network.

The next most popular area was on tackling emissions, where 71% of respondents were in support, while 69% believed a mayoral combined authority should be able to deliver housing and economic growth strategies.

The West Midlands devolution deal was signed last November between the WMCA – which comprises the seven metropolitan councils as well as a number of adjoining shire districts and counties – and the government.

It will see Whitehall make an annual contribution worth £40 million for 30 years to support an overall investment package that will unlock £8 billion, alongside the creation of up to half a million jobs.

In return the region agreed that a mayor should be elected – the election is scheduled to take place on May 4 2017.

The final summary of consultation responses can be found here.

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