The new region wide organisation designed to oversee £8 billion investment in the economy, transport and housing has been officially launched - a week late.

The grandstand launch of the new West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) had been delayed after Warley Labour MP John Spellar blocked the Parliamentary order confirming its creation last week.

He claimed the WMCA order, which includes the election of a Metro Mayor from 2017 , had not been properly thought through.

A special launch meeting and press conference still went ahead but had no official status.

Now seven days later the order has gone through and the WMCA - a group of councils and business chiefs - has been established and decisions taken last week can be ratified retrospectively.

READ: What is the West Midlands Combined Authority?

Authority chairman Bob Sleigh said: "Today is the culmination of a lot of hard work and negotiation over the last 18 months. It is the beginning of the process which brings together local authorities, businesses and other stakeholders and partners to collectively stimulate economic growth across the region and reform public services across the region.

“For the past year we have been shaping a devolution proposal which will see substantial new levels of funding and powers from central government coming into the West Midlands; unlocking around £8 billion of investment over the next 30 years.

"This will deliver the means to finance the collective vision to invest, with a clear economic plan, in transport, infrastructure, skills, productivity and innovation and to look afresh at how we deal with reform of our public services."

"The combined authority will be the strong voice for the region; a voice that would be listened to in Whitehall and across the UK. A voice that will ensure this region is also heard on the global stage, attracting inward investment and selling our skills and expertise.”

The new powers and funding are handed down from Government in Whitehall under its devolution policy.

Cllr Sleigh, who is the leader of Solihull Council, said that work on further devolution deals is already under way.