Chancellor Hammond aims to get the Midlands moving

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Image caption Mr Hammond promised more details of road improvements would be announced in the Midlands within the next few days

It's Philip Hammond's first Autumn Statement since his move from Foreign Secretary to Chancellor of the Exchequer.

But during his 50-minute speech he sounded more like the Transport Secretary he once was: that was indeed his first Cabinet job during the early years of the Coalition Government.

And his commitment remains undimmed to relieving those bottlenecks and pinch points which he feels are such a block in the way of bringing our productivity up to the levels of our European rivals.

A recent survey by Midlands Connect, a collaboration of 28 councils and 10 local enterprise partnerships across the East and West Midlands, suggests a quarter of local businesses would consider relocating elsewhere in the country if there's no improvement in connectivity.

He promised more details of road improvements would be announced in the Midlands by the Transport Secretary Chris Grayling within the next few days.

But the most ambitious individual transport initiative is a £5m Rail Hub which will, among others things, enable ten more train services every hour through Birmingham's New Street station, the cross roads of the rail network.

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Image caption More train services would travel through Birmingham New Street station thanks to a planned £5m Rail Hub

It all forms part of the Growth Strategy which is at heart of the regional devolution agenda started by his predecessor George Osborne and now emphatically reconfirmed here at Westminster today.

Mr Hammond has committed himself to a second "Devolution Deal" for the new devolved West Midlands Combined Authority.

The WMCA is controversial because its critics see it as a super-council which will ride roughshod over local authorities: (the Government say its powers will not be uploaded away from councils but downloaded from Whitehall).

If anything, the elected "Metro Mayor" arouses even greater hostility on the grounds that it concentrates power in one person's hands.

But the Mayor-plus-Combined Authority 'model' does at least qualify it for the maximum level of devolved political and spending power.

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Image caption Mr Hammond wants 40,000 new affordable homes

So the forthcoming "devo deal" will be seen as a real test of whether or not the Government is putting its money where the Chancellor's mouth is.

For example, how much will our local decision-makers see of the £4.1 billion pledged by Mr Hammond for up to 40,000 new affordable homes?

We'll have more on this in this weekend's Sunday Politics Midlands, when I'll be joined in the studio by the Green Party's candidate for next May's West Midlands mayoral elections, James Burn, the leader of his party's official opposition on Solihull Borough Council.

Also with me will be Karen Lumley, the Conservative MP for Redditch, a town which has itself signed-up to the combined authority; and Tristram Hunt, the Labour MP for Stoke-on-Trent Central, "piggy in the middle", perhaps, between the much-vaunted Midlands Engine and Northern Powerhouse.

And I hope you can join us too in our usual 11.00 slot on Sunday morning on BBC One Midlands this Sunday, 27 November 2016.