October 1st, 2016

County ‘may be stumbling block’

County ‘may be stumbling block’ County ‘may be stumbling block’

THE role of Worcester county council could be a stumbling block should Redditch wish to become a full member of the proposed ‘Midlands powerhouse’.

Members of the new West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) have made overtures to the new town to join them, saying that any future inward investment would be devolved down to benefit all members, bringing increased jobs and prosperity.

However Redditch is in Worcestershire and, under current legislation, would need the county’s permission to join another authority as a full member.

The issue came up for discussion at Tuesday night’s executive committee meeting where council leader Bill Hartnett sought permission for himself and chief executive Kevin Dicks to talk to both the West Midlands CA and a proposed Worcestershire CA.

The aim is to explore the advantages and disadvantages of the new authorities, the benefits of being a full member with voting rights or an associate member and what that would entail.

Councils can only be full members of one authority, but can be associate members of two.

“The government wants to see this (WMCA) up and running by April next year and we just want to see what’s on offer – I want what’s best for Redditch and we can do that by being at the table,” said council leader Councillor Bill Hartnett (Lab, Church Hill).