Region secures a further £66m for ‘shovel ready’ schemes to drive economic recovery

An additional £66m of Government funding has been awarded to the West Midlands to kick-start a series of ‘shovel ready’ schemes that can help drive the region’s post-Covid-19 recovery.

The money, from the government’s Getting Building Fund, is in direct response to a list the region submitted two weeks ago of infrastructure schemes that can be underway within 18 months.

A separate £8m funding pot, which has also been confirmed by Robert Jenrick, Secretary of State for Housing Communities and Local Government, will be allocated to Warwickshire.

The list put forward by the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP, the Black Country LEP and the Coventry and Warwickshire LEP covered a range of schemes including new railway stations and other transport infrastructure, 5G, digital and technology-based projects, life sciences and urban renewal.

The WMCA will now work with the three LEPs to send a finalised list of schemes back to the government.

Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “This latest announcement means the West Midlands has now received £150m of Government funding in the space of just three days as we look to re-boot our regional economy from the devastating impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Infrastructure investment is going to be key to our economy bouncing back quickly from this crisis, and this new £66m funding means we can now press ahead, and in some cases accelerate, a number of important infrastructure schemes for the region.”

The latest funding comes hot on the heels of the Prime Minister’s ‘New Deal’ announcement in Dudley on Tuesday, which included £84m for the WMCA to unlock more derelict industrial land for housing.

Last week the region also submitted to government a £3.2bn blueprint to kickstart the West Midlands economy and create long-term prosperity for the region and wider UK.