Businesses urged to shape Combined Authority plans

Last updated: 17/11/2014 15:57:09

Combined Authority

Walsall Council's leader is appealing for businesses and organisations in the education sector to come forward to have their say on the proposed Combined Authority for the West Midlands.

Councillor Sean Coughlan made the announcement this afternoon at a meeting of the Black Country LEP board and will confirm his intentions at Full Council this evening.

Last week, the Black Country and Birmingham announced plans to form a "super council" to drive investment in transport, skills and jobs and provide a mechanism through which Government would devolve funding and powers to the West Midlands.

Plans for the Combined Authority - an alliance between Birmingham City Council, Walsall, Sandwell, Wolverhampton and Dudley authorities - would serve a combined population of 3.4 million people.

Councillor Coughlan said that the views of businesses and education partners would be sought "to help form a collective proposition for growth and regeneration."

"I have made it clear that the West Midlands Combined Authority presents an exciting opportunity for us to attract new funding to enable us to develop the towns and communities of Walsall, the Black Country and the wider West Midlands," he said.

"For Walsall to benefit, I want to hear from businesses and education partners in the Borough on their view of this proposal and the opportunities this might present for them.

"This will include discussions with Walsall based members of the Black Country Chamber of Commerce and our Walsall Economic Board.

"To go further still, today I am announcing an open call in Walsall to join a 'Combined Authority Conversation' through which we will seek the views of businesses and education partners over the coming weeks to help form a collective proposition for growth and regeneration - one shaped and owned way beyond the corridors of the Council House.

"I want any alliance with partners beyond the Black Country to be in the best interests of Walsall's people, businesses, towns and communities.

"I look forward to receiving the wide ranging perspectives over the coming weeks."

Details for the combined authority are expected to be produced by April and approved by the end of 2015.