Combined Authority factsheet

West Midlands

In May 2017 the West Midlands elected its first metro mayor, Andy Street for the Conservatives. He has control over the whole West Midlands combined authority area and works with existing city leaders to take forward their strategic plan. You can find out more about the new metro mayors on our FAQ page.

The economic and political outlook for West Midlands’ new metro mayor

This page brings together the key facts and figures about the city-region’s economy and asks what local residents see as the top priorities for the new metro mayor.

The economic data for West Midlands

West Midlands consists of the following local authorities: Birmingham, Coventry, Dudley, Sandwell, Solihull, Walsall, and Wolverhampton.

Understanding how the city-region performs on key areas such as productivity and employment helps the new metro mayor to assess what he should prioritise. The table below shows how West Midlands compares to the national average on these indicators.

More data is on areas the metro mayor has most power over is available on the West Midlands Metro Mayor Data Dashboard

 

Source: All data publicly available. Contact Centre for Cities for full source details.

What are the policy priorities for the West Midlands metro mayor?

We have outlined three policy priorities for the new West Midlands metro mayor to focus on:

Policy priority 1: A quick win

Getting people out of their cars

  • Signal an intent to keep West Midlands moving by retaining the M6 toll, the metro mayor should commit to use scarce funds on other transport priorities instead.
  • Pledge to increase walking, cycling and taking public transport to work, commit to making other transport options more attractive and easy to use.
  • Simplify ticketing across the West Midlands by fully integrating the Swift card and making it easier to use.
  • Improve public transport with a strategic plan to make the West Midlands work as a single city region to live, work and travel across.

Read more about this priority

Policy priority 2: A strategic aim

Be the spokesman for the West Midlands internationally

  • Use the metro mayor’s profile and visibility to make the case for the West Midlands globally by leading trade envoys, establishing international networks between cities.
  • Represent all industries, not just one or two key firms, to ensure that the broad range of businesses and workers benefit from exporting to the world.
  • Encourage and enable exporters to be ambitious under the West Midlands brand and enhance this brand with the globally recognised firms already exporting.

Read more about this priority

Policy priority 3: A longer term vision

Helping people back into work

  • Encourage more key employers to work directly with schools and skills providers to give residents a second chance to access job-ready skills.
  • Challenge firms to offer high quality in-work training to ensure workers are best placed to thrive, and firms are as innovative and productive as possible.
  • Work with local universities, using them as a hub to improve the skills of local residents and businesses.

Read more about this priority

What powers does the West Midlands metro mayor have?

Below is a summary of the powers the new West Midlands metro mayor has.

wm-powers

What was in the West of England metro mayor candidate manifestos?

Click through the slideshare below to find out what the metro mayor candidates  said in their manifestos on key issues such as transport, housing and skills:

West Midlands Metro Mayor Manifestos from Centre for Cities

 

What the voters say about the new metro mayor

In May 2016 Centre for Cities commissioned ComRes to find out what issues the residents of West Midlands think should be top priority for their new metro mayor. These were based on the powers they will enjoy, as well as wider priorities. We also asked whether or not they wanted to see more powers handed down to the metro mayor. Below are some of the main findings.

Local priorities

Three in 10 adults (31 per cent) in the West Midlands think that health care provision should be the most important priority for local politicians. Of the policy areas within the metro mayor’s remit, housing (15 per cent) was the priority.

Which, if any, of the following issues do you think should be the most important priority for politicians in your city at the moment

priorities-for-your-city-first-preference-west-midlands

Source: ComRes. Average first preference of adults across the West Midlands (n=514)

Looking only at the specific powers that the new metro mayor will have, one in five (21 per cent) say that affordable housing should be the top priority. A significant number also think the metro mayor should prioritise infrastructure (19 per cent).

Of the powers that the new metro mayor will have, which of the following issues, if any, do you think should be her/his top priority in their first 100 days?

priorities-for-mayor-west-midlands

Source: ComRes. Average first preference of adults across the West Midlands (n=514)

The metro mayor’s powers

More than half of adults from the West Midlands (53 per cent) agree that the new metro mayor should have greater powers than council leaders.

To what extent, if at all, do you agree or disagree that the new metro mayor should have greater powers than local council leaders?

mayors-vs-leaders-west-midlands

Source: ComRes. All adults in the West Midlands (n=514). Percentages are rounded.

Awareness of the metro mayor

Two in five adults (39 per cent) in the West Midlands say they were previously familiar with the plans to introduce a new metro mayor for their region.

To what extent, if at all, were you previously familiar or unfamiliar with the plans to introduce a new metro mayor for the city-region?

familiarity-west-midlands
Source: ComRes. All adults in the West Midlands (n=514

What is the political landscape in West Midlands?

The current metro mayor is Conservative Andy Street elected in May 2017 and winning with 50.4% after second preferences. Second was Siôn Simon with 49.6%. The turn out was 26.3%

Find out more about metro mayors

Check  ‘Getting ready for mayors’ for all the latest blogs, articles, events and research on the new mayors.

Get up to date on the policies and powers affecting the metro mayors by reading our metro mayors FAQ.

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