Combined Authority announces portfolio leaders formed of regions Council’s leaders

Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, announces the new portfolio leads

Following the local elections in May, the leaders of the region's councils have been appointed to portfolio roles on the Board of the West Midlands Combined Authority.

At the Board meeting on Friday, Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street, who is also WMCA chair, welcomed newly elected Birmingham City Council leader John Cotton and deputy leader Sharron Thompson to the board, along with Dudley’s new deputy leader Paul Bradley and Walsall’s new deputy leader Garry Perry.

The Mayor also thanked outgoing Birmingham leader Ian Ward for his valued contribution over the last four years as Portfolio Holder for Transport and the council’s outgoing deputy leader, Cllr Brigid Jones, for her work as Portfolio Holder for Levelling Up.

Portfolio have been awarded as follows:

  • Cllr Mike Bird (leader, Walsall) - transport
  • Cllr John Cotton (leader, Birmingham) Environment, Energy & HS2
  • Cllr Patrick Harley (leader, Dudley) - Culture & Digital
  • Cllr Ian Brookfield (leader, Wolverhampton) - Economy & Innovation
  • Cllr Ian Courts (leader, Solihull) - Housing & Land
  • Cllr Kerrie Carmichael (leader, Sandwell) - Inclusive Communities
  • Cllr George Duggins (leader, Coventry) - Skills & Productivity
  • Cllr Izzi Seccombe (leader, Warwickshire) – Wellbeing
  • Cllr Sharon Thompson (deputy leader, Birmingham) - Levelling Up/Devolution
  • Cllr Bob Sleigh (deputy mayor) – Finance

The portfolio holders will work alongside the combined authority's various taskforces which include groups of experts dedicated to a range of goals including tackling homelessness, improving the fortune of high streets and driving forward zero carbon homes.

The announcements follow the region’s successful negotiation of a new Deeper Devolution Deal with Government. The Deal, agreed in March, will see Whitehall transfer wide ranging new powers to the West Midlands alongside a budget windfall of more than £1.5 billion to help level up the region.

New, and significant longer-term funding agreements, including 100% business rates retention for 10 years - worth £450 million – have been included in the Deal.

From the next spending review, the WMCA will also have a departmental-style arrangement with a single pot of funding negotiated with Government. This will give local leaders unparalleled control over spending on devolved areas, marking a seismic shift in power and influence from Whitehall to the West Midlands. Following the announcement of the new portfolio holders, the Mayor said:

“The March 2023 Deeper Devolution Deal that we agreed with Government represents a step change and opens the door to the powers and funding we need to get our region back on track post pandemic.

“Local leaders – enabled by our newfound financial autonomy and decision making authority – are best placed to take action for the benefit of local people.

“With the newly appointed portfolio roles on the WMCA Board, leaders have a great opportunity to exercise these new powers to help shape our region’s future – ensuring all our communities can secure a better quality of life whether that’s through jobs, homes or health and wellbeing.”


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