Deeper Devolution Deal gets mixed welcome - The Solihull Observer

Deeper Devolution Deal gets mixed welcome

Solihull Editorial 21st Mar, 2023   0

A DEAL to give the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) more control over spending has received a mixed welcome.

The Deeper Devolution Deal – which was announced by Government in the Spring Budget – puts more money and power in the hands of local leaders to invest in infrastructure and services such as bus and train services, skills and housing.

The package includes £100million for regeneration and infrastructure of brownfield sites and £60million investment to extend the metro line and gives the WMCA right to retain all of business rates for 10 years – around £450million.

It has also been confirmed the West Midlands will, from the next spending review, have a departmental-style arrangement with a single pot of funding negotiated with Government.

The deal was signed in Coventry earlier this week by Levelling Up Secretary, Michael Gove, and West Midlands Mayor, Andy Street.

Mr Street said: “No one in Whitehall can understand the West Midlands better than local leaders, and so there is no doubt in my mind that we should be empowered to shape our future – which is exactly what this new deal will allow us to do.

“I recently called for an end to the ‘begging bowl culture’ which confined us to regularly submitting bids for various pots of money in competition with other regions.

“I’m pleased to see that this new devolution deal goes some way to addressing that.”

Solihull Council leader, Councillor Ian Courts, said: “This landmark deal will provide additional funding and flexibility for councils within the WMCA and finally give us tools we need to unlock the true potential of devolution for the region.

“Deeper devolution will allow us to boost growth, protect jobs and empower the region’s transport transformation, ensuring it responds to local need. Crucially, it also gives us enhanced power to protect our environment and support improved health and wellbeing.

“Measures such as the devolution of housing retrofit funding will allow us to remove uncertainty and inefficiencies in the existing funding system and support the region’s wider environment and net zero ambitions.”

However the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner, Simon Foster, says the deal has failed to deliver on policing, community safety and criminal justice

He added: “We committed significant effort and time and negotiated with the government in good faith.

“However, the government has knocked back all of our proposals and has included nothing in the deal that will make good on its own promise to reduce homicide, serious violence and neighbourhood crime, within the worst affected areas by 2030.

“There is no levelling up when it comes to policing, community safety and criminal justice.”


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