Black Country Executive Joint Committee
The Black Country sits in the heart of the West Midlands. It comprises of the four local authorities of:
The Black Country is home to over a million people and over 430,000 jobs, generating £17.2bn gross value added (GVA) per annum.
The functional economic area of the Black Country is a key national manufacturing centre. Companies can take advantage of the excellent links to motorway, rail and air transport within easy access of the Black Country, enabling local enterprises to expand into national and international markets.
Future economic growth
Black Country businesses, local authorities (through the Association of Black Country Authorities) and public sector partners have collaborated for over a decade to lead the growth of the local economy and have a well-established vision for future growth.
The Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has identified the high value manufacturing sector as a key sector for growth which will act as a stimulus for further growth across the wider economy. The sector currently employs 90,000 people and generates £5.4 billion of GVA for the UK economy.
Black Country City Deal
Following a successful application to Government, the Black Country sub-region achieved a Black Country City Deal in February 2014 under which certain powers are devolved from Central Government to local authorities to increase economic growth.
The Association of Black Country Authorities at its meeting on 17 April 2013 agreed that a Black Country Executive Joint Committee would be set up to be the lead decision making forum for the Black Country City Deal and Growth Deal.
At the heart of the Black Country City Deal is an ambition to maximise the growth of high value manufacturing by opening key supply chain manufacturing sites across the Black Country.
Black Country Investment Fund
City Deal partners will create the Black Country Investment Fund (BCIF) to stimulate the local commercial land market through the provision of finance to developers of key industrial sites.
This fund will be created through the agreement of a £20m Public Works Loan Board project rate loan facility, with agreed flexibilities, and an investment of £10m from the four Black Country Local Authorities.
The BCIF will be complemented by skills, business support and welfare dependency reduction proposals. These proposals are designed to:
- support high value manufacturers through increasing the supply of skilled young people taking up careers in engineering
- improve the support to local businesses
- encourage local unemployed people to move into manufacturing employment
City Deal partners will agree to deliver at least 1,500 additional high value manufacturing apprenticeships over five years.
Local partners will work to increase the number of young people taking up apprenticeships in key engineering skills and support businesses to employ apprentices.
Black Country business support programme
A Black Country business support programme will be created that will:
- improve co-ordination of business support services across the Black Country
- increase access and take up of national business support programmes
- provide bespoke support to local businesses and act as a focal point for inward investment
- set up a demonstration project to reduce welfare dependency and increase employment in two areas of high unemployment
This project learns from successful programmes in the USA and aligns with the Troubled Families and Help to Work programmes. It contains three core areas of work which will include intensive employment support services and repayable financial incentives to overcome costs associated with starting work.
Further delegated authorities to BCJC
In September 2016, each of the four Council's Cabinets delegated further powers to the BCJC to enable it to make decisions relating to funding applications into and funding received through or from the West Midlands Combined Authority.
In February 2020, each of the four Council's Cabinets delegated further powers to the BCJC to enable it to make decisions relating to all current and future funding opportunities secured or operated by or through the Black Country LEP.
Membership and Governance
The membership of the Black Country Executive Joint Committee will comprise of the Leaders of the four Black Country Councils (voting members) together with the Chair of the Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership (non-voting member).
The Black Country Executive Joint Committee will receive information and recommendations in the form of reports from the Heads of Regeneration Working Group and any Sub Committee or Advisory Board of the Black Country Executive Joint Committee.
Walsall Council acts as Secretary to the Black Country Executive Joint Committee.