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Conservatives 'kept in dark' over Black Country and Birmingham combined authority plans

Wolverhampton | News | Published:

A leading Conservative councillor has said the party is being kept in the dark over plans to create a combined Birmingham and Black Country authority.

Birmingham Council House

Conservative opposition leader Wendy Thompson said that she only found out how far down the road plans for a West Midlands combined authority had gone after a meeting with fellow West Midlands Conservative leaders in Birmingham this week.

She said: "Wolverhampton is supposed to be the lead authority in drawing up the plans but we have been told absolutely nothing locally.

"We have been kept completely in the dark and other leaders were also very uneasy about the pace at which these plans are being formed."

Councillor Thompson added that she believes every possible alternative should be thoroughly examined before a decision is made.

She said: "We need to be more flexible in our thinking.

"Other groups of councils have formed Infrastructure Boards which have been able to draw down major capital funding, without losing their own independence and local identity.

"The old West Midlands County Council started off as a strategic authority and ended up duplicating most of what the borough councils were supposed to do.

"It was a massive waste of money and lost opportunity to regenerate the West Midlands."

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