Ian Austin

Independent for Dudley North

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Huge Cross-Party Support for Combined Authority's Budget Bid

More than thirty MPs from across the West Midlands are urging the Chancellor to support the West Midlands Combined Authority’s bid for extra funds and increased powers.

Led by the Mayor, Andy Street, the Combined Authority is asking the chancellor to use next week’s budget to support the West Midlands “Devolution Deal” which includes:

  • Extending the Metro through the Black Country to Brierley Hill
  • Greater powers to boost skills
  • Support for the region’s growing digital media sector
  • Increased funding and support for automotive and advanced manufacturing with extra help to develop driverless and electric vehicles
  • Help to tackle homelessness and improve support for mental health services

The vast majority of the region’s MPs have signed the letter which has been organised by Dudley North MP Ian Austin, Meriden MP Dame Caroline Spelman and Erdington MP Jack Dromey. The full text is attached.

Ian Austin said:

“The fact that such a huge number of MPs from both the parties shows the level of support for the Combined Authority’s proposals.

“Extending the Metro is crucial when it comes to creating jobs, supporting businesses and bringing greater prosperity to the Black Country and we need to boost skills and back businesses in industries like advanced engineering, electric and driverless vehicles and digital media so we can attract new investment and bring high-skilled and well-paid jobs in cutting edge industries to replace the ones we’ve lost in the past.”

The Rt Hon Dame Caroline Spellman MP said:

“Our region will benefit hugely from devolution and the resources to help it achieve its full potential and with cross-party support I’m hopeful the Chancellor will heed at least some of our requests.”

The full text of the letter is as follows:

Rt Hon Philip Hammond MP

Chancellor of the Exchequer

HM Treasury

1, Horse Guards Road


London SW1A 2HQ


Dear Chancellor

We, the undersigned MPs for the West Midlands region, write in support of the Devolution Deal proposals which have been put to you by the West Midlands Combined Authority in the run up to this year’s Budget.

These proposals for additional funding and the devolution of powers to the region will allow us to generate prosperity and wellbeing for our citizens in the West Midlands. In particular, we would like to highlight some of the most important asks of Government.

  *   Funding the extension of the Metro from Wednesbury to Brierley Hill, unlocking the potential of the Black Country, creating significant opportunities for the new homes, jobs and businesses, and funding new infrastructure for cycling in the region

  *   Devolving powers and responsibilities to align skills training and career advice with the needs of businesses in our key industrial sectors

  *   Supporting our automotive and advanced manufacturing industries, with an ambitious programme of regulatory reform and funding support to develop autonomous and electric vehicles

  *   Backing our digital sector in the West Midlands, creating digital skills and generating new start-up businesses, and improved digital public services

  *   Piloting new approaches to public services to tackle homelessness, mental health and emotional resilience in young people and to prevent cardiovascular disease

We stand with local authority leaders from across the region and with the Mayor of the Combined Authority, Andy Street, in supporting these asks of Government. We hope that you will consider them favourably during your Budget deliberations.

Yours ever,

Rt. Hon. Dame Caroline Spelman MP

Jack Dromey MP

Mike Wood MP

James Morris MP

Wendy Morton MP

Eddie Hughes MP

Nadhim Zahawi MP

Mark Pawsey MP

Julian Knight MP

Andrew Mitchell MP

Dame Caroline Spellman MP

Rachel Maclean MP

Amanda Milling MP

Michael Fabricant MP

Nigel Huddleston MP

Jeremy Lefroy MP

Ian Austin MP

John Spellar MP

Adrian Bailey MP

Pat McFadden MP

Eleanor Smith MP

Emma Reynolds MP

Geoffrey Robinson MP

Jim Cunningham MP

Matt Western MP

Richard Burden MP

Liam Byrne MP

Khalid Mahmood MP

Shabana Mahmood MP

Steve McCabe MP

Jess Philips MP

Preet Kaur Gill MP

Colleen Fletcher MP

Tom Watson MP

Roger Godsiff MP

Valerie Vaz MP

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