The WMCA is made up of the seven metropolitan areas of Birmingham, Coventry, Dudley, Sandwell, Solihull, Walsall and Wolverhampton, as well as the district and borough councils within three Local Enterprise Partnership areas. Those areas are Greater Birmingham & Solihull, which Tamworth is a member, the Black Country and Coventry & Warwickshire.
The WMCA came into being on June 17 this year, when the order officially creating it came into force.
Its aim is to allow member authorities to work together on growth in key areas including employment and skills, health, housing and transport, while retaining their own identities and powers.
Tamworth Borough Council has been involved in the development and creation of both the WMCA and its ambitious devolution deal from the beginning of the process, with Cabinet member for Regeneration, Cllr Steve Claymore, and Chief Executive Tony Goodwin attending all briefings, workshops and meetings.
The WMCA is not a ’super-council’ and will not take over any of the powers currently held by Tamworth Borough Council. The borough authority will retain its identity and will not have to surrender any of its decision-making to the WMCA.
Now, residents of Tamworth are being asked for their views on the functions and responsibilities an elected Mayor for the WMCA. The consultation is available on the WMCA website and is open until midnight on Sunday August 21.
Cllr Steve Claymore, Cabinet Member for Regeneration, said, “Membership of the WMCA gives Tamworth the opportunity to play a major role in the future economic growth of the borough and the wider region. Membership of the WMCA will have great benefits for Tamworth and for the people who live and work here, as well as those businesses already operating in Tamworth and those who will be attracted to set up here.
“The creation of the WMCA takes nothing away from Tamworth Borough Council and will not take over any of its powers. It is simply an enlarged government structure which allows members to work more closely together.
“One of the conditions of the Devolution Agreement, which will bring an extra £36.5 million a year to the WMCA region over the next 30 years – is an elected Mayor.
“People across the WMCA area are being consulted on the functions and responsibilities of this role – including how the Mayor and the WMCA will make decisions, who will be responsible for what and how the Mayor will work with the WMCA board.”
Cllr Bob Sleigh, Chairman of the WMCA, said, “The idea of a Mayor for the WMCA area is to provide a strong voice for the region. They would also be an ambassador for the area, selling it on the global stage. They would be the point of contact when the Government want to speak to ‘the West Midlands’ and be responsible for driving the Devolution Agreement within government and the region.
“I encourage residents, businesses, community groups and partners from across the region to complete the consultation and have their say.”