Chancellor George Osborne has signed two devolution deals, giving new transport spending powers to local politicians in Liverpool and the West Midlands.
The deal signed by members of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) shadow board will result in the election of a mayor to govern Birmingham and the wider region in 2017. The mayor will chair the WMCA. The Mayor will have control over local transport budgets including responsibility for a new key route network of local authority roads. The WMCA will work tomake the most of High Speed 2 (HS2) through an extension of the Metro system and development of a congestion busting strategy.
Voters in Liverpool will also elect a mayor with local transport responsibility in 2017. The new mayrpo will work with the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority work to invest £900M over 30 years in unlocking the economic potential of the River Mersey and Superport and in maximising the opportunities from HS2.
Osborne said: “We want to make the Midlands Britain’s engine for growth, and this deal will give the region the powerful levers it needs to make that happen. We have worked with local council leaders across the party divide, and today we are announcing a collaborative way of working that would not have been countenanced in this region even just a few years ago.
“I want to congratulate everyone who has worked so hard to make this happen but the work is now just beginning to drive the Midlands Engine forward. This is just the start.”