Responding to recent press articles about the combined authority, Mike Dell, Managing Director of BC Barton Ltd and Chair of the Black Country Chamber of Commerce Devolution Group, said: “I agree with Andy Street, Chair of the Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP. The name ‘Birmingham’ is recognised on the world stage, West Midlands is not and we do not want to be trying to explain where we are. It is important that we put aside parochial perspectives and work together.

“The Greater Birmingham Combined Authority will be the means by which the Black Country will get its hands on transport infrastructure and skills monies that will underpin our growth. Within Greater Birmingham, Black Country businesses can demonstrate their worth on an international stage and secure the long term future of the region.”

Responding to the comments by Lord Heseltine regarding the risk to central government of devolving powers to the West Midlands, Mike said: “Business leaders should not be frightened to tell the mandarins of Whitehall about the appetite for change within the region. The Black Country has its blueprint for a £34bn economy. Business people know the steps that need to be taken and will work with politicians to create an agenda for change. The risk to the Black Country of doing nothing is greater than that to Whitehall.”