Business leaders in Greater Birmingham have welcomed Coventry City Council’s decision to move a step closer to joining a combined authority. Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce (GBCC) said the agreement by the Labour controlling group to move towards joining forces with Birmingham was “a brave and historic step”.

Four Black Country councils and Birmingham City Council have already agreed to create a combined authority and Coventry Council will now aim to follow in their footsteps. A statement from Coventry City Council states that it also anticipates Solihull will join the group.

The council has also stated its desire to have councils from Warwickshire join the proposed authority – although specific councils have not been mentioned.

Greg Lowson, president of Birmingham Chamber, said: “This is an important milestone in the history of the West Midlands. 

“Businesses in the region will fully support this move, not least because the Chancellor has made it abundantly clear that only combined authorities will be given increased powers, including those relating to economic development, transport and skills.

“Already a combined West Midlands authority feels like a real Powerhouse with involvement from the Black Country and Coventry and we now urge Solihull to follow suit.

“The business community is ready to throw its weight behind the hard work that must be started immediately to drive ahead to create a combined authority and to look seriously at the issue of an elected mayor.

“Birmingham’s electorate rejected the idea of an elected mayor for the city alone, as Manchester did, but a mayor could unlock even more resources for a combined authority.

“We congratulate all of the authorities for taking such swift action on this in the wake of the General Election and we are sure it will go down as a brave and historic step.”