Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street has outlined to Parliament the key priorities for the West Midlands as the UK leaves the European Union.
He addressed the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Select Committee (PACAC) of MPs as part of their inquiry into Devolution and Exiting the EU.
The Mayor said afterwards: “My role is to make sure that MPs in Parliament understand the needs of the West Midlands as we leave the European Union.
“We must get the best possible deal so that we can make a success of Brexit for the West Midlands.
“Many voters wanted to reclaim control from the European Union. We must make sure that control comes back from Brussels to Brierley Hill, Bilston and Birmingham, not just to London.
“There are real risks if we don’t get a good deal from Brexit, for example, the automotive industry will suffer if new tariffs or barriers to trade are created.
“However, there are also opportunities for the West Midlands after Brexit. Any new trade deals will give our businesses access to new markets, and the opportunity to export more goods.”
The Mayor told the MPs he wanted to see more funding for the region through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, which will replace funds currently administered by the European Union.
Other areas he highlighted were:
- Maintaining frictionless trade for West Midlands companies, in particular automotive and advanced manufacturing companies
- Ensuring that West Midlands universities can access European research funding, and that students and academics can work and study freely across Europe
- Seeing which powers which are currently exercised in Brussels can be devolved to the West Midlands, rather than returned to London
- New jobs and business growth from new trade deals with countries outside the EU such as the US and China
Andy Street is the only Mayor to give evidence before Parliament on behalf of an English region so far.
Other leading figures from devolved administrations across the UK, such as Carwyn Jones AM, First Minister of Wales, and members of the Scottish Parliament, have also given evidence to the Committee.
This appearance comes a week after Mr Street warned of the “unintended destruction of thousands of jobs in the automotive industry” if frictionless trade is not maintained after leaving the European Union.
The Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Select Committee is made up of Labour, Conservative, Scottish National Party and Independent MPs, and is chaired by Bernard Jenkin MP.
Click here to see Andy Street give evidence to the Committee.