Birmingham's City Deal proposals revealed

A combined transport authority is one of the central requests in Birmingham's draft City Deal proposals, it has been revealed.

Development sites in Birmingham (© Elliott Brown)
Development sites in Birmingham (© Elliott Brown)

The city is currently in negotiations with the government over the details of its deal, which are yet to be finalised, with city economic development chiefs hoping for a decision by July. 

In December, the government began negotiating City Deals with the eight biggest cities outside London and their council and business-led local enterprise partnerships (LEPs) to devolve powers over finance and regeneration.

In Birmingham, the City Deal wishlist was submitted in February via the Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP, which represents nine local authorities in and around the city as well as local businesses.

The draft document, Driving local economic renaissance, claims that if the proposed measures succeed, they will produce a net increase of 100,000 private sector jobs by 2020 and a boost to the area’s economy by £8 billion.

A key request is the setting up of a local transport body covering the LEP area, which would control a fund for priority schemes and services.

The document also proposes moving the headquarters of HS2 from London to Birmingham and increasing the capacity of Birmingham Airport.

Another set of requests are based around housing, with the LEP board influencing the disposal of "all strategic government-owned land" in the area to meet the city’s need for new homes and employment land.

The document suggests using some green belt land near the city edge for housing and devolving powers for the sale of land from the government’s housing and regeneration quango the Homes and Communities Agency.

A further proposal is a £25 million medical research centre, called the Institute of Translational Medicine, which the LEP said would create more than 2,000 jobs and help the city become a "global centre for life sciences".

Other measures include creating "world-class" broadband services, improving the city region’s skills through an extra 500 apprenticeships, and making thousands of homes and public buildings more energy-efficient.

Andy Street, LEP chair, said: "The City Deal negotiations have been ongoing for several months between the LEP and government, during which time the picture has, naturally, changed from the one initially presented in the document."

Street said the LEP was now "close to reaching a resolution with Government", though some measures in the document "may appear in a second phase of the City Deal".

He added: "What this document does do is demonstrate the extent of the ambition of the LEP, our confidence in our dialogue with government and the consensus reached by the local authorities and business leaders who are members of the LEP over priorities for accelerating growth."

City Deals have already been agreed for Liverpool and Manchester.

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