The gloves came off in the final full week of General Election campaigning, as the parties issued dire warnings about the damage their rivals would do to the West Midlands.
And the West Midlands was at the top of the agenda, with both Conservative chancellor George Osborne and party leader David Cameron making visits to the region.
Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg is also expected to be here very soon. There’s no word on when Labour leader Ed Miliband will next be in the region, but it would be surprising if he doesn’t turn up at least once more before polling day .
Mr Osborne’s visit to Solihull was to set out the Conservative manifesto for the West Midlands, which included a promise to create an extra 160,000 jobs across the region and invest £5.2 billion to improve roads and motorways.
And he also promised that a Conservative government would create 350,000 apprenticeships, 100,000 new good primary school places, and offer working families 30 hours of free childcare a week.
That was the positive news.
But when David Cameron came to the region, visiting Birmingham Northfield and Coleshill in Warwickshire, he was on the attack.
The Tory leader highlighted plans to increase the income tax personal allowance to £12,500 by 2020, and increase the 40p tax threshold to £50,000 by 2020.
But he also claimed Labour had proposals to increase taxes – something Labour firmly denies.
He said “Do you trust the people who taxed you to the hilt when they were in power and still haven’t come clean about the taxes they want to increase next time round? Or do you trust the Conservatives, who have cut income taxes for 26 million people, and who will cut your taxes again next time?”
And he added: “It’s a fundamental difference of approach between the Conservatives and Labour; me and Ed Miliband. It is, in fact, the first law of politics: it’s Labour who put up your taxes, and the Conservatives who cut them.”
Labour was equally negative, claiming the Conservatives have a “secret plan” to cut tax credits for working families, leaving some families up to £2,000 a year worse off. They even produced figures, claiming 319,000 families in the West Midlands region would have tax credits cut in real terms.
Labour leader Ed Miliband said: “This is your time, your moment, your chance to get the change your family needs.”
Tories also attempted to stoke up concern about the impact the SNP could have on any future Labour government.
They argued that the SNP only care about Scotland – and would block investment in English regions.
Mr Osborne claimed: “The West Midlands would be ignored and marginalised under Ed Miliband and the SNP.”
And added that promised investment in roads in the region, part of £5.2 billion transport package which will improve the M6 and M42, and upgrade the M5 and A5, would also be taken north of the border. Asked whether the West Midlands, with a population equivalent to Scotland, should have a similar level of devolution to Scotland – perhaps with its own version of the Scottish Parliament in Holyrood – he said: “I’m a big supporter of the people of the West Midlands having more say over the issues that affect them This is the place where there is a great tradition of creativity.
“My door is open to any combination of local authorities who want to discuss with us how they get greater control over the transport budget, the health and social care budget.
“I don’t want Greater Manchester to be the only area where this happens. Birmingham and the West Midlands has massive potential and I’m very much in favour of this happening here.”
Meanwhile, Mr Cameron claimed the SNP could block attempts to cut air passenger duty at English airports , which could damage Birmingham Airport among others.
The Scottish Parliament has already been promised the power to increase or cut Air Passenger Duty, the tax paid by airlines, at Scottish Airports.
And Birmingham Airport, a major employer, has said in the past that it fears it could lose customers if taxes are cut in Scotland, leading to lower prices, but not in England.
Launching the Conservative “English Manifesto”, Mr Cameron said his plans for a radical change in the way England was governed was essential to protect English airports.
He said: “If Scotland chooses democratically to slash or abolish Air Passenger Duty for flights from Edinburgh and Glasgow, how can it be right for Scottish MPs, potentially holding the balance of power in a future Parliament, to then impose higher passenger duty on English airports?
“It’s just not fair.”