The Government was today urged to free Birmingham from its financial shackles.
The plea came from West Midlands Business Council as it insisted innovative ways had to be found to finance much-needed major developments.
The range of issues that needed to be addressed across the region are described as "immense" – from transport to skills, from rural needs to urban regeneration.
"That is why consistent and adequate funding streams to ensure these issues are addressed is clear and pressing," says WMBC in its response to Advantage West Midlands' regional economic strategy consultation.
AWM, it notes, "cannot on its own deliver all the needs of the region".
Nor should it be expected to. And what money that is forthcoming from the Government is not enough to meet the region's needs.
But, adds the report, "an innovative relationship with business might release the funds that are needed".
Suggesting a range of ways this could be addressed, WMBC suggests the first could be through the issuance of regeneration bonds.
The report states: "The concept of bonds to deliver public sector projects is not new. It was seriously considered by the Mayor of London to fund improvements to the London Underground."
It has also been suggested in connection with the transformation of east London for the 2012 Olympic.
The report goes on: "The use of bonds has a number of advantages. It enables the public sector to set the terms of debate on regeneration and renewal including setting specific requirements. This gives certainty to the markets who can consider the rate of return and the investment level that would be required.
"In the absence of additional public revenues, bonds would seem to be a trusted, logical and accountable form of finance, meeting public sector requirements, to service economic regeneration needs."
The call for local authorities to be able to issue regeneration bonds was supported by Mike Whitby, the leader of Birmingham City Council, who proposed a similar idea three years ago.
Coun Whitby (Con Harborne) said: "Any innovative initiative that would allow local government to be in control of its own destiny would add value to the local economy and the UK economic growth.
"I believe government here is over-centralised and we can certainly draw on comparisons in Europe and America, where local authorities are not so restricted."
The WMBC report suggests greater use of Public Private Partnerships, now common in the financing of projects such as new hospitals.
It states: "While the West Midlands Business Council recognises the problems that have occurred with some PPP projects, overall, it has provided funding which would not otherwise be available from the public purse."
It says PPP should be considered as "a model to free up funding elsewhere for other initiatives".
This could lead to "real and sustainable delivery".
WMBC's third avenue for finding extra infrastructure money is prudential borrowing.
It states: "Public agencies, including Advantage West Midlands, should be allowed to undertake prudential borrowing similar to the model that has been introduced for local authorities.
"Under the Local Government Act 2003, local authorities can use unsupported borrowing for capital investment. The prudential capital system plays a key role in capital finance for local authorities. It helps local councils to determine their own programmes for capital investment in fixed assets that are central to the delivery of quality public services."
This method of finance had already led to practical developments across the West Midlands region including Birmingham City Council's #215 million to refinance existing off balance sheet borrowing for the National Exhibition Centre, #15 million to improve council housing and #10 million to improve children's homes.
Solihull, Staffordshire and Walsall councils had also gone down the same route.
And the report urges: "In the case of Advantage West Midlands and other agencies it may be beneficial if prudential borrowing was allowed for revenue as well as capital streams."
But all these methods of drumming up extra cash would require Treasury approval, and that could prove a stumbling block.
The fear is that Chancellor Gordon Brown could view this as a threat to balancing the budget, while the Bank of England may see an issue with inflation.
Nevertheless WMBC is urging the Treasury "to adopt a more flexible approach".
WMBC executive director James Watkins said: "The challenge to Gordon Brown is to wake up and smell the coffee.
"A number of agencies across the UK are making the same point."
Claiming that London, Wales and Scotland already had greater financial freedoms, he cautioned: "The needs of the West Midlands are pressing. Gordon Brown should allow these things to happen."