Further investment and devolution call at mayoral summit

Metro Mayors in joint call for government to review housing funding allocation to city-regions.

England’s Metro Mayors met in Birmingham on Tuesday to call on central government for further investment and devolution for their city-regions. The summit was hosted by Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, the University of Birmingham and the Local Government Association.

Five Mayors have co-signed a letter to the Prime Minister Theresa May, calling on the government to review the way in which funding for new housing is allocated to city-regions.

The letter highlights the specific needs of their regions, such as the need to regenerate brownfields sites and improve the viability of developments where land values are lower than in London and the South East.

Conservative and Labour Mayors call on the government to review the funding formulae that are used to allocate housing investment, to ensure that city-regions outside London and the South East do not lose out on vital funding. The letter argues that investment in housing supply, and skills and innovation in the construction industry, will accelerate economic growth and the re-balancing of the UK economy.

This intervention comes at a crucial time for many of the city-regions, as they are negotiating Housing Deals with the Government, where regions commit to building more homes in return for infrastructure and housing funding. Since their election on 4th May 2017, the Metro Mayors have met a number of times to lobby the Government to support their city-regions.

Mr Street said: “As Metro Mayors, we are in a unique position to contribute to solving the housing challenge for Government. Because we each represent and work with several local authorities, we can provide the coordination and direction to accelerate the building of homes in our respective areas. But that requires Government to provide the investment and powers so that we can deliver the new homes our regions and the country need.”

Councillor Sean Coughlan, Leader of Walsall Council and Lead on Housing & Land for the West Midlands Combined Authority added: “This region has a large and growing population and there is an urgent demand for new homes. The WMCA Land Delivery Action Plan will channel infrastructure investment into unlocking more land for development and speed up the building of new homes and commercial developments, but if we are to achieve this it is important that this region gets a fair funding formula.

“Doing so means we can accelerate development in key growth areas and a range of initiatives that will enable us to work more effectively with developers and enable sites to be developed more quickly.”