An extra £200 million in funding is needed to make any further investment commitments in the region in 2019/20 by the West Midlands Combined Authority, it has been revealed.
And, if the gap between investment commitments and available funding is not reduced in the near future, the authority says that it is likely that pre-existing schemes will encounter delays or need to be scaled back.
Bosses will meet tomorrow (Friday, January 11) to approve the budget for the financial year, with overall funding of £103.1 million, including control over the Adult Education Budget for the first time.
One of the WMCA‘s main roles is control over the Investment Programme, which consists of an £8 billion package of measures designed to stimulate and grow the West Midlands economy over the next 30 years.
This £8 billion includes a £2 billion commitment from the WMCA, which is underpinned through income from the devolution deal with government, the mayoral precept, business rates growth and business rates supplement.
However, last year the mayor announced that he will not be introducing a precept next year, with papers from the board meeting stating that: “of the four long term income pillars … only the Devolution Deal Grant is considered to be substantially secured over the 30 year term.
“The remaining three income sources continue to be developed by the West Midlands Combined Authority but it is possible these income sources will not be realised as originally conceived.”
The papers go on to say that the WMCA has already made ‘commitments to fund’ over £750 million of Investment Programme schemes over the next eight years, adding that: “in order to continue making commitments to fund schemes after this point, sustainable, long term revenue sources of circa £200 million will need to be identified to allow all the scheduled business cases to pass through the assurance process in 2019/20.
“Post 2019/20 there remains a significant amount to secure.
“Ultimately, if the combined authority are unable to close the gap between Investment Programme commitments and available funding, it is likely schemes could encounter delays and / or the overall Investment Programme will need to be scaled back in consultation with Leaders,” the papers conclude.