Birmingham has submitted radical plans to devolve power and cash to the West Midlands in a “city deal” to be considered by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg.
And in a display of co-operation between local authorities, it has won the backing of eight neighbouring councils for the plans.
The Government has promised “an unprecedented transfer of power from central government to local communities” in a series of deals with Britain’s eight core cities.
Ministers have already agreed deals with Liverpool, including an extra £75 million funding for the city, and Manchester, where there are plans to build up to 7,000 homes.
But Birmingham has taken a different approach to other cities and allowed the Local Enterprise Partnership, the body set up to support local businesses, to take the lead role in drawing up the deal, rather than the city council.
It has meant that Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership’s nine members are all signed up to the proposals.
They include local authorities in Bromsgrove, Cannock Chase, East Staffordshire, Lichfield, Redditch, Solihull, Tamworth and Wyre Forest as well as Birmingham.
Andy Street, the John Lewis managing director who chairs the enterprise partnership, joined Birmingham City Council leader Mike Whitby and Solihull Council leader Ken Meeson to present the plans at Westminster.
They spoke to a panel of senior ministers including Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles, Transport Secretary Justine Greening and cities minister Greg Clark.