City Conservative leader Councillor Wendy Thompson said that there was little appetite anywhere in the West Midlands for what would effectively be a "Greater Birmingham". "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."
Councillor Thompson added that she had only found out how far down the road plans for a West Midlands Combined Authority had gone after a meeting with fellow local Conservative leaders in Birmingham this week. "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 warned that the last thing most people wanted was to be "bounced" into accepting a return of the West Midlands County Council which was abolished in 1986. "It 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."