Landmark devolution deal signed and sealed

The West Midlands Deeper Devolution deal has been signed today (March 20) by the Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove and Mayor Andy Street.

The deal includes a regeneration package worth up to £160m and marks a shift in power, funding and responsibility from Whitehall to the region.

New measures such as a long-term funding settlement are set to enable local leaders to plan for the future as well as enhancing the lives of almost three million people in the area.

Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove said: “Visionary local leaders like Andy Street understand the needs of their areas better than decision-makers in Whitehall – that is why it is vital that we put more power and control in their hands.

“This deal goes further than we’ve ever gone before. It will give the Mayor unprecedented power to spend on local priorities and more control over transport, skills and housing – the things people truly care about.

“Today marks a bold new frontier in devolution in this country, and it’s fantastic to see the West Midlands right at the forefront.”

Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands and WMCA chair, said: “This is a truly landmark moment for our region as this Deeper Devolution Deal has resulted in Whitehall granting significant powers and funding to the West Midlands – recognising the importance of local leaders on the ground having greater financial autonomy and decision-making authority”

The deal includes:

  • A new long-term funding settlement, including the right to retain 100% of business rates for 10 years.
  • A wide-ranging partnership with Homes England, with a commitment to work towards investing £400m in the West Midlands by 2026.
  • Further support for regeneration and infrastructure with £100m of brownfield funding and £60m of investment in the metro line extension from Wednesbury to Brierley Hill.
  • Levelling up zones, backed by 25-year business rate retention, to generate jobs and investment.
  • Greater control over public transport with a new rail partnership with Great British Railways and the devolution of the payment of the bus service operators grant.
  • The establishment of a transport ‘sandbox’ to put the West Midlands at the forefront of transport innovation, with additional commitments to a new Strategic Innovation Partnership and better access to finance for local businesses.
  • More oversight and control over adult skills funding and more responsibility over developing and delivering careers advice.
  • Devolution of funding to retrofit buildings, to bring down energy bills for households across the West Midlands.
  • A new partnership with national arts and culture organisations to harness the West Midlands’ globally renowned cultural strengths.
  • Tools to support the roll-out of high-speed broadband across the region and £4 million for devices and data to get more people online.

Alongside these powers, a new framework will ensure that decision-makers in areas with devolution deals are accountable to their residents and deliver value for money, with a clear ladder of intervention to respond to underperformance.

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