The West Midlands Combined Authority is based on an extensive Functional Economic Market Area (FEMA) assessment, which tested whether the geographic area covered by the three LEPs would be more beneficial financially than the LEPs continuing to work separately. As a result of this, the emerging WMCA plans on using the geography to jointly create an economy which is the strongest outside London and contributes fully to the Government’s vision of a wider “Midlands Engine for Growth”.
The West Midlands region is renowned for its innovation – its businesses account for almost 10% of UK research and development (R&D) expenditure, much of which is delivered in partnership with local universities. It has some of the best performing educational institutions in the country and it has particular strengths in digital technology and computer science, healthcare, business administration, engineering and technology, and education. The region also has a range of internationally recognised research institutions. This is why the West Midlands Combined Authority has ambitious plans to build on these strong foundations.
If the region grows at the same rate as the London economy then the West Midlands will be £26.4 million better off by 2030.
The West Midlands suffers from a significant shortage of skills both at the lower and higher ends of the skills spectrum. The skills deficit is reflected in the high levels of unemployment (9.3%) across the seven Metropolitan Authorities. This is why skills is one of the West Midlands Combined Authority’s key priorities.
We need a fully integrated rail and rapid transit network that connects our main centres with quick and frequent services, and that increases the number of people who can readily access HS2 stations and main centres. By delivering this, we will reduce transport’s impact on our environment, improving air quality, reducing carbon emissions and improving road safety. The resulting network will enable the efficient movement of goods to help businesses to connect to supply chains, key markets and strategic gateways.
The West Midlands has a large and ever-increasing population, which needs to be accommodated for in the future. This is why housing is one the West Midlands Combined Authority’s key priorities. The WMCA will therefore establish a Land Commission to help identify the land which can be used or regenerated to create homes for the future.