Spring Budget sees power shift to Warwickshire

Warwickshire County Council leader, Isobel Seccombe

Warwickshire County Council has secured a Level 2 devolution deal with the Government, gaining more control and influence over local growth.

It formed part of Jeremy Hunt’s spring budget announcements, with new devolution deals meaning two-thirds of the English population now benefit from the extended powers. 

The agreement for Warwickshire County, which is led by Cllr Isobel Seccombe, sees the transfer of new powers and funding from the Government such as the adult education budget as well as delivery responsibility for the UK Shared Prosperity Fund. 

Homes England and the DLUHC will work with the council and local partners to “reduce the barriers to affordable housing delivery, regeneration and wider housing growth” and will create a development pipeline for the county.

Hunt also announced £15m of support for the West Midlands Combined Authority to support culture, heritage and investment projects in the region, subject to a business case. This will provide £10m of funding to support culture and heritage projects, and £5m to drive inward investment in the region.

Further details were released on the region’s investment zone, to harness advanced manufacturing capabilities and drive growth in battery, digital and sustainable construction technologies across Birmingham, Wolverhampton and Coventry. 

Hunt announced the three new West Midlands investment zones in his Autumn budget, which are expected to leverage £2bn in private investment and create 30,000 jobs by 2034.

Tax incentives will be implemented in Birmingham to support the Birmingham Knowledge Quarter – a multi-disciplinary innovation quarter with research and laboratory facilities spearheaded through business partnerships with world-leading universities. An anchor investment of £70m has already been made by Bruntwood SciTech and Woodbourne Group.

In Coventry and Warwick, £35m is on the table to develop the West Midlands Gigafactory. It is one part of four sites within the investment zone and will become the UK’s Centre of Electrification. 

Up to £40m of funding is intended for infrastructure measures to improve travel and power connections in these sites as well as bring forward developments at the Green Innovation Corridor in Wolverhampton. 

Alongside that, up to £19m is being aimed at a package of support for business, research and innovation and skills will also grow the innovation ecosystem and skills base in the sector.

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