Black Country Chamber of Commerce welcomes Combined Authority deal

The West Midlands area

The Black Country Chamber of Commerce has welcomed the West Midlands Combined Authority devolution deal, saying it will be good for manufacturing.

Last week, Councillor Pete Lowe, leader of Dudley Council, joined other Midlands borough leaders, as well as members of the Government, to sign the £8billion pact in return for agreeing to be run by a mayor.

The proposed agreement with the Government will see the local authorities make an annual contribution of £40 million for 30 years, with the money set to bolster more public transport, jobs, investment and housing in the borough.

The chamber’s vice president, Kevin Rogers, said: “We have always been concerned that Whitehall did not properly understand manufacturing.

“The devolution agreement enables us to take control back and invest in the areas that concern manufacturing. Transport, skills and land are top of our agenda and it is good to see that they have received top billing in the agreement with a £200 million land remediation fund and a £30 million employment, education and skills programme.

“In addition, funding to support HS2 will also ensure that nowhere in the West Midlands is more than 40 mins from an HS2 station.”

He continued: “Over £5 billion of transport investment over ten years, integrated and locally controlled, will mean better integration between local and national transport networks and as a result ways to reduce congestion on the strategic road network.

“We have estimated that road congestion alone costs our businesses at least a third of a billion pounds a year. We now need to engage with the four million people who live in the West Midlands and help them understand that the combined authority is not another layer of bureaucracy but the means by which we can take control of our futures."


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