Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Coventry edges closer to combined authority

  • Comment

Coventry leader Ann Lucas has indicated that the city council will join the proposed West Midlands combined authority.

This move would potentially greatly increase the proposed authority’s size, as Coventry’s existing partners in its city deal could then also choose to join (see box).

Cllr Lucas (Lab, pictured) has said in a BBC radio interview that the region’s councils would “be invincible” together, and that if Coventry stayed out of the combined authority it could “be squeezed with no monies coming our way” from the government.

She added: “If we combined, not merged, it would make us the biggest combined authority outside London [but] we will make the decision based on what’s right for Coventry and we’ll do it in our own time.”

Her comments came two days after Birmingham City Council’s leader Sir Albert Bore (Lab) piled pressure on Coventry and its partners to join the proposed combined authority.

He told the BBC’s Midlands Today he would like Coventry, Warwickshire and Solihull to join Birmingham and the four Black Country councils in creating the authority.

Sir Albert said: “I think we’ve got the capacity, not only to catch up, but to have a midlands powerhouse which is much more of a powerhouse than the northern powerhouse that Manchester are proclaiming.

“There’s much to be gained, I think, from bringing together those seven metropolitan districts together with some of the associated shire districts.”

Solihull leader Bob Sleigh (Con) has said he is “open to discussions” about joining.

Coventry’s position is complicated by having a separate city deal with Warwickshire, its districts and Hinckley and Bosworth BC, which is in Leicestershire.

Talks have been in progress for some months on forming an economic property board for the area.

Coventry chief executive Martin Reeves told LGC: “The biggest factor will be what is the best way to get devolved powers and whether a bigger unit is best or not. We expect a decision in the next few weeks.”

But Rugby BC leader Michael Stokes (Con) said in a statement: “I have expressed my support for Coventry remaining outside of the proposed combined authority for Birmingham and continuing to work closely with partners in Rugby and Warwickshire.

“Together we form a strong and geographically sensible partnership and I know that we can build on this relationship.

“The door remains open for any future discussions that may be needed, but I will always have Rugby’s best interests in mind.”

North Warwickshire BC deputy leader Ray Sweet (Lab) said: “We’ve had discussions but I think we have to be equal players in anything and be sure we get benefits.”

Hinckley & Bosworth leader Stuart Bray (Lib Dem) told LGC: “We are open to dialogue with our partners in Warwickshire and Coventry and, indeed, with those in Leicester and Leicestershire, as long as the outcome is improvements for the people we serve directly.”

Warwick DC leader Andrew Mobbs (Con) declined to comment ahead of a cabinet meeting.

West Midlands combined authority founders:

Birmingham City Council

Dudley MBC

Sandwell MBC

Walsall MBC

Wolverhampton City Council

Those invited to join from Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP members

Solihull MBC

Bromsgrove DC

Cannock Chase DC

East Staffordshire DC

Lichfield DC

Redditch BC

Tamworth BC

Wyre Forest DC

Coventry city deal area councils

Coventry City Council

Hinckley & Bosworth BC

Nuneaton & Bedworth BC

North Warwickshire BC

Rugby BC

Warwick DC

Warwickshire CC

Stratford-on-Avon DC


  • Comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions.

Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.