Combined Authority (CA) - Coventry’s choice
Currently a consultation exercise is being done by Coventry City Council with regard to joining Birmingham, Solihull and the Black Country in a Combined Authority (CA). However, no other options are being offered and this is where the consultation is fundamentally flawed.
So what are the real alternatives and the arrangements to support them?
Coventry standing alone – this is the status-quo, but an option that cannot be supported on grounds of size, economics or what else is happening in other authorities. The Government’s agenda, supported by the Opposition, is in order to secure funding for large projects, authorities must work together.
Coventry and Warwickshire in a combined authority -This is an option which makes the most sense in both economic terms and popular appeal. It would present a CA with over 900,000 in population, a size range large enough to pass the Government litmus test and be popular with residents. We have two highly ranked universities, significant businesses such as JLR and all this is supported by the economic geography and travel to work areas.
Coventry in a West Midlands CA without Warwickshire – although this is the path that Coventry City Council is going down at the moment, this really does leave Coventry out in the cold. This would follow the same geography as the old West Midlands County Council. It would leave Coventry without its important county neighbour, Warwickshire, and would concentrate power towards the centre. Also, when a metro mayor is appointed or elected, it is likely to come from the Birmingham area.
The position of Coventry Conservatives
Our position is that we should pursue option 2, above, and secure Coventry and Warwickshire in a CA. This, we believe, would be the most beneficial in terms of geography and is the overwhelming choice of residents.
Coventry Conservative Pledge
If Coventry becomes part of a West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), as is currently proposed, then we will allow the citizens of Coventry to decide whether should remain in or come out by holding a referendum and giving local people the chance to have a vote.