Second West Midlands devolution deal includes money for 'Mayoral Housing Delivery Team'

A government commitment of £6 million to support a new 'Mayoral Housing Delivery Team' is included in a second devolution deal between the government and West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA).

Birmingham: combined authority devolution deal published
Birmingham: combined authority devolution deal published

The West Midlands Combined Authority began operating in June 2016, with the new administration taking on responsibility for strategic economic development, regeneration and transport.

The authority, which operates in the metropolitan area of the West Midlands, has prepared a new strategic economic plan for the area, and has powers over strategic transport issues, including delivery of the High Speed 2 rail line.

An initial devolution deal was agreed between the authority and central government in 2015.

Now, a second deal has been agreed. Amongst a raft of new measures, the document commits the government to provide £6 million over three years, beginning in 2017/18, "to support a new Mayoral Housing Delivery Team in the WMCA and make an immediate impact on delivery and longer term supply".

The document says that the WMCA and its partners will "bring forward a pipeline of new homes across all tenures, aligned to transport and infrastructure priorities. This will include unlocking housing opportunities from transport investment".

The agreement also confirms £250 million of government money for transport infrastructure which will be used for an extension of the Midland Metro from Wednesbury to Brierley Hill.

Elsewhere, it says that government will work with the WMCA "to develop a local industrial strategy". It says that this "will be a long-term vision for growth, based on robust evidence and focused on raising productivity and pay in the area".

"The strategy will reflect the main themes of the national Industrial Strategy, but also take a place-based approach which builds on the area’s unique strengths and ensures all people in the West Midlands can contribute to, and benefit from, economic growth", the document says.

The combined authority includes Birmingham City Council, City of Wolverhampton Council, Coventry City Council, Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council, Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council, Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council and Walsall Metropolitan Borough Council, alongside the Greater Birmingham and Solihull, Coventry and Warwickshire and the Black Country Local Enterprise Partnerships.

*This article was amended at 14:45 on 23/11/17 after it was brought to our attention that an initial draft of the article focused on the contents of the 2015 agreement rather than the 2017 deal.*

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