This week the Chancellor joined members of the West Midlands Combined Authority shadow board to put pen to paper on what he called ‘an historic deal’.
It will see the region become the first outside of the north of England to sign up to a devolution deal with an elected Mayor.
Speaking at an event in Coventry, Mr 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.”
Final proposals on how the West Midlands Combined Authority will work and what it aims to achieve will go before Parliament in April 2016.
What powers would the elected mayor have?
- Chairing the West Midlands Combined Authority, which will receive £36m a year from the government for 30 years
- Control over a devolved transport budget for the region, agreed by central government
- Responsibility for local bus franchises
- Maintaining major roads and managing a key route network for the area
- More control over planning rules and approving the building of new homes
Once elected, the mayor will chair the regional authority, which will have a transport budget devolved from government. The mayor will get new planning powers to "drive housing delivery and improvements in housing stock".
Announcing the deal, Chancellor George Osborne said the combined authority would benefit businesses and manufacturing in the Midlands and encourage councils to work together.
Birmingham, Coventry, Dudley, Sandwell, Solihull, Walsall and Wolverhampton have all signed up to be full members, while three Local Enterprise Partnerships and various district councils will be involved on a non-constituent basis which includes Tamworth and Lichfield.