A vision detailing how the region's new combined authority will work has been published today.
Council leaders have unveiled the new 'prospectus' for the West Midlands Combined Authority which includes confirmation the name 'Greater Birmingham' will not be used and no firm decision on whether there will be a region-wide mayor.
Plans for a new West Midlands super-council serving four million people have finally been launched following more than a year of talks.
The authority encompasses the seven boroughs of the West Midlands metropolitan county - Birmingham, Solihull, Walsall, Dudley, Sandwell, Wolverhampton and Coventry - and follows in the footsteps of similar super-councils in Merseyside, Sheffield and the North East.
Leaders of the seven councils say the new combined authority will help to create thousands of jobs.
The aim is to repeat the success of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, which was founded in 2011 and already has control over billions of pounds of government funding to build light rail lines, new housing and more.
But instead of creating a "Greater Birmingham" authority, council leaders have decided the new body will be called the West Midlands Combined Authority.
And they have avoided a decision on whether to agree to government demands that it should be led by a directly elected mayor - saying instead that they have "an open mind".
They are launching a 'prospectus' which will be presented to government ministers for approval with Chancellor George Osborne expected to welcome it in his Budget speech on Wednesday.
Some critics have claimed the planned authority will mean Birmingham takes over the rest of the region and leaders in places like Coventry and the Black Country says they want to prove them wrong.
Alongside the seven councils forming the new body, it is hoped other nearby towns including Rugby, Warwick and Stratford could eventually be included in the new council, possibly as 'non-constituent members' rather than full members.
The combined authority will serve an area with an economic output of £74 billion a year but council leaders believe this could increase by £24.6 billion by 2030, if they speed up economic growth.
Experts believe big cities and regions will be most successful in future decades so one of the goals is to ensure the West Midlands comes together as one area so it can compete with major cities and regions with millions of people in places like China and India.
Business Secretary and Bromsgrove MP Sajid Javid has vowed to be the new region-wide council's "biggest advocate in government".
The combined authority is due to be up and running by April 2016 but the leaders of Solihull and Coventry councils still need to win the formal backing of their councillors.
Plans set out in the prospectus include:
- Creating an "economic plan" for the West Midlands - this could include expanding the region's enterprise zones where employers get tax breaks to create new jobs
- Taking control of a range of government funding schemes and attracting more private sector investment, for schemes such as developing unused industrial land
- Improving the region's transport network
- Bringing together experts who can monitor what's going on in the region's economy and offer advice
- Seizing control of skills and training services to make sure local people have the skills employers need
- There will also be projects to improve mental health services.
Mr Javid has urged the region’s leaders to be as ambitious as possible in their plans.
"If they can put forward a sensible, well thought-through plan then I will be their biggest advocate in government," he said.
"Because that devolution will help set that region free, attract more investment and create the jobs and opportunities that we want."
However, council leaders will have to face the difficult issue of whether or not to agree to a directly elected mayor to run the new combined authority - something the government wants but many local councillors oppose.
The prospectus will duck this issue and council leaders say they will deal with it later. One said: "We will walk before we run".
But Mr Osborne has said they must agree to a mayor if they want to win a major package of funding.