George Osborne, The UK’s Chancellor of the Exchequer, has pledged to extend his ‘Northern powerhouse’ idea to the Midlands. The Chancellor will continue his drive to devolve power from Whitehall to England’s regions as he sets out plans to make the Midlands an ‘engine for growth’.During a day-long tour of the region, he will hold talks with council leaders on how they can gain additional powers for new super-authorities headed by ‘metro-mayors’.
Ministers have already agreed a devolution plan in Greater Manchester for the much-vaunted ‘Northern powerhouse’.
The Chancellor will now spell out how he intends to offer similar powers to town and county leaders in a wave of new deals.
Among the areas that could be affected in the Midlands are Shropshire, Herefordshire, Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Rutland, Telford, Newcastle-under-Lyme, Halesowen, Dudley, Loughborough and Lincolnshire.
Mr Osborne will also use his visit to a major extension of Birmingham’s enterprise zone as well as confirming plans for a series of major upgrades and improvement schemes for motorways and A roads in the region.
Speaking ahead of his visit, he said: ‘Our plan to rebalance the whole of the UK economy involves making the Midlands an engine of growth.
‘We will support its key strengths in manufacturing, science and energy. We will make major investments to improve transport connections and improve skills.’