Statement from Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson on the West Midlands Combined Authority Mayoral consultation:

We are all agreed that the West Midlands deserves a powerful mayor who can get things done.

What it doesn’t need is the smothered, weak model currently being consulted upon by the Combined Authority.

Next May, the people of the West Midlands are due to elect a mayor on the expectation that he or she will have the power to carry out their promises.

Votes are meaningful and asking people to cast their ballot for a toothless tiger is just not right.

Put simply, what the people of the West Midlands are being offered is not fit for purpose and things need to change.

Unless the plans for the region are bold, we risk falling behind not just Manchester but other areas that have got their act together.

I have attended a number of meetings about these proposals and consistently raised serious concerns.  I know people share my views and I hope my intervention will widen and deepen the discussion on this issue.  I consider it my duty to speak up for the people of the West Midlands whom I represent to make sure they get the best possible deal.

A strong mayor has the potential to be of huge benefit to the region and its people. At the moment, we are being offered a smothered mayor, who will be held back by the bureaucracy. The model proposed would result in a mayor who has little authority over economic development, the Combined Authority’s budget and doesn’t even get to choose their own cabinet. How can that be the right model to drive through the changes we need?

If we’re going to have an elected mayor they need sufficient power to deliver jobs, investment and the expectations of the people of the West Midlands.

Those involved in developing the mayoral role need to lift their ambitions. There is a serious risk that the government may reject the model if we do not have a strong enough role for our mayor.

I have yet to hear a convincing answer as to why the mayor should be as weak as possible. The Combined Authority needs to think again and come back with a model that can actually get things done.

What is there to be afraid of? Why is the Combined Authority so timid of bold change?

So the West Midlands has a strong mayor capable of getting things done and driving our region forward I think we should pause and reflect. It would be preferable to have a strong mayor who can get things done straight away in 2018, rather than a weakened one elected next year.

My full response to the consultation on mayoral powers can be found here.

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