PM puts focus on need for change in mayors meeting - The Solihull Observer

PM puts focus on need for change in mayors meeting

Solihull Editorial 11th Jul, 2024   0

THE NEW Prime Minister welcomed the Mayor of the West Midlands, Richard Parker, and other metro mayors to Downing Street.

The meeting giving new powers over planning, skills, employment support and transport to the regions came just five days into the new Government’s reign.

Sir Keir Starmer and Deputy Prime Minister, Angela Rayner, set out their ambitions for each leader to deliver economic growth working with central government to benefit residents.

It was also confirmed that mayors who demonstrate exemplary handling of public money will be handed integrated funding settlements.

During the first-of-its kind meeting, Sir Keir and Ms Rayner reaffirmed their belief that Mayors have the vital local knowledge, capacity or flexibility needed to take advantage of every opportunity.

Mayors will also develop Local Growth Plans which will help harness local strengths and deliver new opportunities, unblocking things standing in the way of tapping the potential that exists.

The PM said: “Every part of the West Midlands has a vital contribution to make to the economy. For too long working people in this proud region have been ignored by Westminster, which has been more preoccupied by slogans than delivering the change to transform peoples’ lives.

“This stops today. My commitment to growth isn’t just a saying – the foundations of government require a fundamental rethink to create a real partnership with partners to unlock economic growth in the West Midlands.

“As I said to the mayor of the West Midlands, Richard Parker, we will refocus our efforts to break down the inequalities which hold growth back, restore the trust of our communities and creating jobs and opportunity across the country.”

A key part of the roundtable focused on resetting the relationship between central and regional governments, focusing on public service, respect and collaboration, along with the early steps needed to unlock economic growth and tackle regional inequality.

The Deputy Prime Minister also reiterated the government’s commitment to widening devolution to more areas, encouraging more local authorities to come together and take on new powers.

Mr Parker said: “My ambition is that the West Midlands will be the best place to live, to learn and to do business. It is only by devolving powers and giving flexibility of funding – true devolution – that we can have real impact for our residents.

“With greater flexibility in our funding, I will deliver a social housing revolution for the region, support our businesses to grow and ensure our residents have the skills they need to access jobs and opportunities brought about through growth.”

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