Dudley MP Ian Austin has called on the Prime Minister to back cross-party plans for more jobs, new homes, better transport links and higher skills across the West Midlands.
Speaking at Prime Minister’s Questions, Austin urged David Cameron to devolve as much power and funding as possible to the new combined authority along with greater control of funding for job creation, housing, transport and training.
The Prime Minister welcomed the moves and said the Government was keen to consider ambitious plans for devolution in the region.
Austin is a former Minister for the West Midlands, and has highlighted the JLT 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.
The Government is currently considering devolution plans put forward by local authorities and Local Enterprise Partnerships from across the West Midlands.
Speaking at Prime Minister’s Questions, Ian Austin said:
“May I tell the Prime Minister and the Chancellor that there is strong support from all the parties, the local enterprise partnerships, business and local authorities right across the West Midlands for a properly funded and significant devolution deal to strengthen the economy, to boost productivity, to get the brownfield sites redeveloped and to tackle congestion, so that we can transform the West Midlands, with more jobs, better skills, quicker transport links and new homes?”
The Prime Minister replied:
“I am glad to hear from the hon. Gentleman what an opportunity there is in the West Midlands to work across party, to get the best deal across all these authorities. As I said, the more we can get the local authorities to come together and work together and put their ambition and vision on the table, the better the response they will get from the Government.”