The West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) has ratified a ‘deeper devolution deal’ worth an estimated £1.5bn.
The deal, announced in the Spring Budget, includes a ‘Single Settlement’, which will for the first time see a region treated ‘as if it were a government department’, enabling the WMCA to decide how funding is allocated from its next spending review onwards.
The combined authority said this would reduce the time spent by officers making repeat bids into national funding competitions.
The deal enables the WMCA to create six levelling up zones, which will be able to retain business rates for 25 years.
It also involves a housing deal worth up to £500m, retention of business rates for the next 10 years and devolution of the bus service operators grant.
Andy Street, West Midlands mayor and WMCA chair, said the deal marked the ‘beginning of the end’ of the ‘begging bowl culture’ of submitting funding bids for the region.
Birmingham City Council deputy leader Sharon Thompson added: ‘This is an important step on our journey to get the powers and resources that we need to bring greater prosperity to the communities that we have been elected to serve.’
The Government said the mayor and WMCA portfolio leads will be expected to present to parliamentary select committees as requested and engage quarterly with West Midlands MPs.