In a last-gasp move, Rugby Borough Council has decided to join the West Midlands Combined Authority as a non-constituent member, following a meeting last night, Thursday.
With Warwickshire County Council having recently decided to join the combined authority - which would have decision-making powers over the borough of Rugby - councillors had to decide if they wanted to be able to influence those decisions.
The West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) is a group of councils across the region that is working together to seek greater decision-making powers from the government through devolution. Some powers will only be given if the authority has an elected Mayor but this will not apply to councils that are non-constituent, such as Rugby Borough Council. Powers that could be devolved to the Combined Authority from the government might cover transport infrastructure, mental health or crime and public safety.
Cllr Michael Stokes, Leader of Rugby Borough Council, said: “Warwickshire County Council has already joined as a non-constituent member, and as part of the local enterprise partnership (LEP) we are already part of a non-constituent member.
“For these reasons some would argue that we are already part of the WMCA, so it was important to consider Rugby’s membership again.
“We need to be able to take a seat at the table, represent the views of our residents and help shape the combined authority to ensure maximum benefits for Rugby.”
At last night’s meeting councillors also committed the borough council to engage residents and businesses in the devolution process and inform them of the implications of joining the combined authority.
Rugby Borough Council had a deadline of today, Friday, to commit to join the West Midlands Combined Authority to enable the council to be part of the devolution deal negotiations.