Academics and business leaders have welcomed a historic agreement between Birmingham and the Black Country to set up a combined authority.
Coventry is expected to sign up in the coming weeks and an invitation has been extended to Solihull to play a part.
Jerry Blackett, chief executive of Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce, said he “unreservedly” welcomed the announcement.
He said: “This is the gold standard for local authorities to work together and this coalition will give Government the confidence to devolve more powers and budgets to the West Midlands.
“Businesses have never understood the point of Local Authority boundaries and trade easily across borders. The economic ties between the Black Country and Birmingham have been clear for decades.
“We hope that Coventry and Solihull will think hard about the contribution they might make to ensuring we create the most powerful and logical unit possible.
“Businesses look forward to making a major contribution to help the combined authority to secure the powers and budgets needed to release economic growth. We are hopefully at the start of a journey towards more fiscal devolution whereby taxes raised locally can be retained locally. Provided business has a say in how this happens we are very much up for this.
“There are many examples of great working partnerships, such as the LEPs bringing business, Local Authorities and education together and Midlands Connect where West and East Midlands are joining together to bring infrastructure projects like HS2 to fruition.”
The Post revealed the historic deal has been agreed and will be signed by leaders of Birmingham, Dudley, Walsall, Wolverhampton and Sandwell Councils.
They hope to have a wider agreement, outlining powers to be handed to the authority, by April next year.
Both Labour and the Conservatives have made it clear that combined authorities are vital to access billions of pounds of funding for the regions.
Post columnist Prof David Bailey said: “This is all became hugely pressing for the region after the recent report of the City Growth Commission. It nominated the existing five Northern combined authorities as the first city regions to have devolved powers, thus leaving out the West Midlands.”