The West Midlands Combined Authority covers the boroughs of Birmingham, Coventry, Dudley, Sandwell, Solihull, Walsall and Wolverhampton. The region has a strong industrial heritage, which is evident in its strengths in science, energy and technology. It also has an ambition to address regional challenges, from skills to worklessness and connectivity.
The combined authority was formed in 2016. This transferred powers from Whitehall to the West Midlands with a view to ‘propel the economy to further growth’. In 2023, the combined authority negotiated a Trailblazer Devolution Deal which grants further powers and responsibilities around local growth, transport, skills, housing and regeneration, and net zero/retrofit.
Their mission is to ‘build a better connected, more prosperous, fairer, greener and healthier West Midlands’. The Inclusive Growth Framework focuses all of the combined authority’s work on the same set of social and environmental missions, enabling them to meet the needs and aspirations of people whilst being regenerative of the climate and environment.
Here are some of the ways that the West Midlands is delivering inclusive growth in practice:
Race Equalities Taskforce
Established to work with a wide range of public bodies, businesses and communities to tackle race disparities across the region. Its independent strategy, ‘Race Forward’, was published in March 2023.
Developing an Inclusive Regional Economy
Understanding and developing the role of anchor institutions across the combined authority area to harness the opportunities for employment and local spend, including entry-level employment and sector-specific support.