Through the West of England devolution deal, significant powers and responsibilities have been devolved to the West of England Combined Authority (WECA).
WECA was established early 2017 and the West of England Mayor, Tim Bowles, was elected in May 2017.
Devolution gives us an opportunity to be ambitious for our region at a scale not seen before.
It means that we can make decisions here in the West of England about the things that affect us all every day – decisions about homes, transport, the skills we need and how we can support our businesses to succeed and to ensure our economy continues to grow, for the benefit of everyone.
Benefits of the devolution deal include:
- £1 billion of investment to deliver infrastructure to boost economic growth in the region. Government will provide £30m a year over a 30-year period, with additional funding expected from other sources. The way in which funds are managed is set out in the Local Growth Assurance Framework and the list of projects within the investment programme can be viewed here
- WECA will also gain full responsibility for the Adult Education Budget from 2019/20, helping ensure that adult skills provision meets the needs of West of England businesses and learners.
- There will be enhanced powers for WECA to speed up delivery of new housing in line with the Joint Spatial Plan.
- The deal also enables the three West of England councils to participate in a Business Rates retention pilot, which allows them to retain 100% of business rates rather than the current 50%.
We have a track record of success in the region and by working more closely together we can achieve so much more.
Our ability to talk to central government as a Combined Authority, with one voice, is one of the key benefits of devolution. As a region, working together, we have demonstrated that we have clear and ambitious plans and Government has recognised this by investing in our future.