West Midlands Combined Authority

Questions about the combined authority

Why are combined authorities being created?

Combined authorities are a way of devolving power, funding and decisions currently made in Whitehall to regions so councils can work together as a group or combination to make decisions based on sub-regional, not national, priorities. They help councils work together - they do not replace them.

Combined authorities are about better collaboration between local councils on issues that are more effective when delivered together or ones they cannot decide alone, such as transport investment or strategies for skills and economic development.

Why is Rugby joining up with Birmingham and other councils?

Combined authorities mean devolving powers from Whitehall to councils in the West Midlands, not devolving powers from Rugby to Birmingham. By working together with councils from across the West Midlands we will be able to make important decisions that affect Rugby here in the West Midlands region instead of the government making them in London.

Rugby Borough Council will lose none of its current powers as a result of being part of a combined authority; the new powers would move from Whitehall to the region. The Council will remain at the heart of civic life in the borough.

What does it mean for Rugby?

It will mean plans for economic growth, transport, housing and regeneration can be made locally in the West Midlands and not in London.

All councils who are part of a combined authority make joint decisions about spending – decisions previously made in London by Whitehall civil servants and government ministers.

Why are we considering this particular area?

A combined authority is required to cover an area that makes sense economically – such as an area in which many people commute to work or where there are strong links between local firms, universities and other institutions.

Forming a combined authority based on the same geography as the three local enterprise partnerships in the West Midlands has many practical advantages. It means that a West Midlands combined authority would be the largest of its kind in the country - and second only to London - representing the interests of four million people in the region.

A combined authority needs to be big enough to be able to compete in the world and to pull together the resources needed to support more economic success.

Would we lose control over local decisions, like house building or planning approvals?

No. Rugby Borough Council will continue to make the decisions over local issues such as rubbish and recycling, planning permission, and council housing.

Will it mean a single big council that means we will lose our local identity?

No, a combined authority is not a replacement for existing councils and councils do not merge to form a single new body when they create a combined authority. Each member council continues to provide local services and to represent the local area in the same way that they did before. But by working together they will be able to make important decisions previously made by the government in London.

The leaders of the councils within a combined authority are accountable to their own council and their councillors and through them to their local residents and businesses.

What about an elected Mayor for the region?

The combined authority will have a directly elected Mayor who will be able to make some decisions. However, Rugby Borough Council has decided to be a "non-constituent" member of the combined authority, which means that those decision will not apply to residents and businesses in the borough of Rugby.

Residents will not get to vote for the elected mayor, but nor will they have to pay any additional council tax to fund the role.

Rugby will still have a ceremonial Mayor, who is the first citizen of the borough.

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