Ian Austin MP

Labour MP for Dudley North

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Austin tells Chancellor to hand over greater powers to the West Midlands

Dudley MP Ian Austin has called on the Chancellor to hand over greater powers and more funds to deliver more jobs, new homes, better transport links and higher skills in the West Midlands.

Speaking at Treasury Questions, Austin urged George Osborne to free the West Midlands from the control of bureaucrats in Whitehall to give the new combined authority greater powers over job creation, housing, transport and training.

The Chancellor promised to continue working with local leaders to push for an agreement that devolved “very significant powers” to the Midlands.

Austin is a former Minister for the West Midlands, and has highlighted the JLR plant at i54, the new runway at Birmingham Airport and the regeneration of New Street Station as evidence of the success of previous devolution to the region.

Speaking at Treasury Questions, Ian Austin said:

“The best way to support manufacturing businesses in the Midlands would be to free the region from London’s control. The region has been stifled by Whitehall for far too long.

“If he gives us the powers and funds we need to strengthen the economy, to develop brownfield sites and tackle congestion, we will deliver more jobs, better skills, quicker transport and new homes.”

The Chancellor George Osborne replied:

“Well we have a deal, because that’s exactly what we’re doing with the West Midlands and we’ve worked across different political parties.

“I have met with Labour and Conservative authority leaders and members of Parliament from both parties in the West Midlands, and we have collectively agreed to have an elected mayor and to hand very significant powers from this place and from the Government to the people of the West Midlands.

“I think it is one of the most exciting steps forward in the devolution of power in this country.”

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