Lord Heseltine has urged the Goverment to hand over a share of £70 billion to Birmingham and neighbouring towns and counties, as he launched the “Greater Birmingham Project” alongside business and council leaders.
George Osborne, the Chancellor, will give his answer this week, in the run-up to the Budget statement on Wednesday.
Initial proposals include improving roads and public transport in the area around Birmingham Airport, known as the “M42 Gatway”, taking in the NEC and Solihull town centre.
The LEP would also take over responsibility for allocating funds for skills and training, to ensue young people were taught skills needed by local employers.
And it would focus on cutting unemployment and poverty in the poorest parts of the region.
The plans were drawn up by Lord Heseltine, a former Deputy Prime Minister, working with the LEP, councils and employers.
A new “Greater Birmingham Supervisory Board” will bring together Sir Albert Bore, leader of Birmingham City Council, with the leaders of Solihull, Bromsgrove, Redditch, Wyre Forest, Cannock Chase, East Staffordshire, Lichfield and Tamworth councils.
They will oversee the work of Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), the economic development agency chaired by Andy Street, the Chief Executive of department store chain John Lewis, which will receive and spend Government cash.
Business leaders, including Birmingham Chamber Group, will play a key role and a team of civil servants who will be despatched from London to serve the new Birmingham-based administration.
Lord Heseltine is calling on the Government to axe a wide range of national projects administered in Whitehall and put the cash - up to £70 billion - into a “single pot” which local enterprise partnerships can bid for.
The “Greater Birmingham” project will be the first to bid for the money, and if the scheme is successful here it will then be rolled out across the country.
He said: “The ideas identified in this new report show that Greater Birmingham has the vision, the determination and, I believe, the basis of corporate governance essential for the Single Pot to work.”
He added: “Now it is important that Government clarify its position as far as the Single Pot is concerned – I hope this report provides further reassurance to the Chancellor that this approach is one that can unlock the potential of the regions and bring about a step-change in the performance of the UK economy.”
Sir Albert Bore, Leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “This will put Birmingham and the wider city region at the forefront of a new way of working. Great cities are the engines of growth and the country will not prosper unless we do.”
Andy Street, Chair of the LEP, said: “There is a shared determination and vision across our city region about what needs to be done – we now need to build on our current progress by continuing to trailblaze in the way Lord Heseltine envisages.”
The Black Country and Coventry and Warwickshire are not included in the proposals as they have their own LEPs.
However, Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP has said it hopes to improve collaboration with its neighbouring partnerships. In the long term, the aim is that every LEP will be able to bid for a share of the single pot of money.