The Chancellor, Philip Hammond, has confirmed a second round of devolution for the West Midlands in a significant victory for WM Mayor, Andy Street, who has been pushing for further powers to be granted to the region since his election in May.
Delivering his much-anticipated Autumn Statement in Westminster yesterday, the Chancellor, Philip Hammond said the second West Midlands deal, which ‘has been considered for some time’, will include £6m for a housing delivery taskforce, £5m for a construction skills training scheme and a £250m allocation from the previously announced Transforming Cities fund to spend on improving transport connectivity.
The announcement comes after the Chancellor met with West Midlands Conservative MPs in Westminster last week and Conservative MP, Dame Caroline Spelman, (Meriden) organised a joint letter, signed by more than 30 cross-party Midlands MPs, backing Mr Streets call for further devolution and urging the Treasury to provide “additional funding and the devolution of powers to the region”.
Tweeting his support for the Chancellor’s Announcement, West Midlands Mayor, Andy Street said, “Delighted with the confirmation of the second @WestMids_CA Devolution Deal by the Chancellor. Detail will be made available tomorrow”.
The plans have been welcomed by local MP, Dame Caroline Spelman. Speaking after the budget announcement, she said, “The Chancellor is right to give local people more power and democratic accountability over the decisions being taken which directly affect the communities in which they live and I congratulate our Mayor, Andy Street, who has worked tirelessly to secure a second package of further devolution”.
“I am particularly pleased that as part of this deal the Government will prioritise investment in improving our existing transport links as well as building new infrastructure, thus helping us to meet local housing demand and relive pressure on the green belt by ensuring that brownfield land is remediated and better connected in order to make it attractive to developers, future owners and tenants”.
More information on the second devolution deal is expected to be announced later today.