LEP bid for 'underperforming' Greater Birmingham and Solihull

The funding idea was recommended by the former deputy prime minister Lord Heseltine in his report

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A £5bn plan to help rejuvenate Birmingham's economy has been revealed by business and political leaders.

The Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) said it wants spending powers to be devolved to regions, giving them more power.

The LEP's strategy needs government funding and Chancellor George Osborne is expected to respond ahead of his budget on Wednesday.

If agreed, the plan would be a template for other LEPs to use.

It was revealed at an event at the Hyatt Hotel in Birmingham on Sunday. The funding would cover Greater Birmingham and the Solihull area.

'Take the lead'

The money would come from a single pot of cash replacing the current tangle of government handouts, said Patrick Burns, BBC political editor for the Midlands.

He said: "Today's report is the result of two months of intensive effort by the LEP's steering group which includes local business and political leaders, among them the Conservative MP for, Meriden Caroline Spelman, and the Liberal Democrat West Midlands MEP, Phil Bennion."

The funding idea was recommended by the former deputy prime minister Lord Heseltine in his report "No Stone Unturned" unveiled in Birmingham last October.

Steve Hollis, from the LEP, told BBC Sunday Politics West Midlands: "This area has underperformed for the last 15 to 20 years.

"One of the LEPs had to take the lead on this and we're quite fortunate we got that lead.

"We've worked closely with Coventry and Warwickshire and the Black Country...we have been working together.

"This isn't Birmingham going and doing it alone, this is the LEP area that is going and putting a bid forward."

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