THE NEWLY created West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) has received its first cash injection from central Government.
Communities Secretary and Bromsgrove MP, Sajid Javid, announced the transfer of £36.5million to the WMCA as the first of planned payments totalling £1.1 billion over the next 30 years.
The money comes as part of the region’s devolution deal, signed last November, which promises to give local people more of a say over transport and investment in the local area.
Mr Javid said: “The people of the West Midlands came up with a devolution deal which puts them in charge of driving growth and transforming local services.
“Today’s £36.5million boost is proof that we will equip them with what they need to fire up the Midlands Engine – the ability to boost long-term growth, create jobs, improve skills and invest in transport and innovation.”
WMCA chair and leader of Solihull Council, Coun Bob Sleigh, welcomed the investment to what he called the ‘manufacturing heartland’ of the country.
He added: “This payment marks the start of an exciting new era in which we will be far better equipped to build on our strengths, improve productivity and skills and deliver the transport infrastructure and new homes our region needs.
“It gives us the tools to drive forward the Midlands Engine, helping to unlock growth, jobs and prosperity and ultimately a better quality of life for the four million people of the West Midlands.”
The West Midlands Combined Authority was officially created in June this year, joining together seven constituent members – Birmingham, Coventry, Dudley, Sandwell, Solihull, Walsall and Wolverhampton – and a number of non-constituent members, including Nuneaton and Bedworth, Redditch and Cannock Chase, which will have reduced voting rights on matters.