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Metro mayor could lead the way

FEARS of Solihull being absorbed into a Greater Birmingham conurbation are likely to be fuelled by a new report.

FEARS of Solihull being absorbed into a Greater Birmingham conurbation are likely to be fuelled by a new report.

Influential think thank, Centre for Cities, has called for “metro mayors” to be introduced - who would have power across several local authorities.

In the Midlands, this means that a single individual could be elected to represent Birmingham, Solihull, Coventry and other areas of the West Midlands.

The think tank argued that installing mayors to represent wider regions would allow them to take a role comparable to London’s Boris Johnson.

Previously, the fear for Solihull has been that if Birmingham elected a mayor, they may try to take control of region-wide services like transport.

This would see them making decisions affecting Solihull, despite being elected only by Birmingham voters.

Under the “metro mayor” set-up, Silhillians would be involved in electing the figure but there are likely to be concerns about the borough losing autonomy.

At a cabinet meeting earlier this year, Leader of Solihull Council Ken Meeson said he was opposed to the idea of a mayor to represent the whole of the West Midlands.

“This could see the mayors of cities such as Birmingham and Coventry involved in a power struggle,” he had told fellow members.

Centre for Cities has suggested “metro mayors” could be installed from 2016 onwards, though a lot depends on the result of a referendum in Birmingham this week.

The city went to the polls yesterday (Thursday) to decide whether or not they want an elected-mayor.

The outcome is likely to determine whether or not a mayor covering a wider region is feasible further down the line.

 

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