Caroline Spelman, MP for the Meriden Constituency, gives a cautious welcome the news of the intent for one of the most ambitious Combined Authority plans in the country. It is hoped that the Combined Authority (encompassing 3 LEPS which could combine as many as 12 district councils or more) will leave businesses in the West Midlands in a stronger position, potentially creating an economic power tantamount to that of large trading areas such as London.
The Authority is intended to be set up by April 2016 after consultation with both parliament and the public. It would see councils working as one with the ultimate goal of more jobs, growth and prosperity for all those in the region. The bid will grant the MPs of the regions greater access to powers once in the hands of the central government, allowing decisions to be made regarding the region, in the region.
The Combined Authority would serve an area with an economic output of £74 billion a year but councils are confident this could increase by £24 billion by 2030 if economic growth is speed up. This may be seen as paramount as larger cities and regions are anticipated to become more successful in the years to come. Combined Authority will allow the West Midlands to compete with major regions in countries such as China.
Caroline commented; “There will need to be safeguards on housing and planning because of the precious Green Belt in the Meriden Gap but as long as the new authority sticks to an economic model and Solihull has the right to veto, I support it.”