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16/07/2015
LEP Chair Stewart Towe –  update on the West Midlands Combined Authority
The Chairs of the Black Country, Coventry & Warwickshire and Greater Birmingham & Solihull LEPs welcomed the Statement of Intent to create a Combined Authority embracing our collective LEP areas.
 
The LEP chairs recognise this is an important step to enabling further economic growth at a faster pace for our areas whilst undertaking necessary public sector reform and, in due course, achieving further devolved powers from Government.
 
We believe there is already a strong economic foundation on which to build the Combined Authority, based on recent private sector led growth in our respective LEP areas. The economic statistics show that we are beginning to address many of the issues that have previously held back this region. This recent success has been based on a very strong collaboration between the public and private sectors, which has included the joint setting of strategic objectives and the development of innovative and cost effective delivery models.
 
We have developed enduring partnerships and the Combined Authority offers us an exciting opportunity to show the country how public and private sectors working together can deliver jobs and growth. Maintaining this collaborative approach as the Combined Authority develops is a key principle for our collective success. Furthermore, a private sector that is the focal point of our future economic development decisions will allow effective interventions to be created that address the barriers to business growth and competiveness.Jointly, we must work together to ensure that we gain greater economic outcomes than we can achieve as individual LEPs. In doing so, we should look to tackle the stubborn issues that remain within our economy, such as improving the levels of productivity and worklessness.
 
We are committed to work with the Metropolitan Authorities  to assess and deliver this "economy plus” model and would be pleased to lead in the creation of an overarching Strategic Economic Plan (SEP) for the Combined Authority, based on a refreshing of our current SEPs and reflecting the benefits that can be achieved through a greater combining of our efforts. This will be a key document for the Combined Authority, which will clearly establish the economic and investment priorities for the future. Our approach will be based on a detailed economic analysis, an honest appraisal as to where further opportunities for improvement lie and the development of innovative joined up solutions for further private sector growth and investment and public sector reform that will underpin our future dialogue with Government.
 
We are pleased that the Metropolitan Authorities have begun to engage with the District and County Authorities that make up our full LEP areas. Gaining the full commitment of all our local authorities should now be a top priority.  We believe that a Combined Authority, including all of these partners, is critical to achieving maximum economic growth..
 
We are pleased that the Metropolitan Authorities have come together to create a Statement of Intent around the formation of a Combined Authority. We look forward as LEPs to working across our full LEP geographies, jointly creating an economy that is the strongest outside London and contributes fully to the Government’s vision of a wider "Midlands Engine for Growth”.

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