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Local elections 2024: Mayor of the West Midlands

On 2 May 2024, voters in Birmingham and six neighbouring local areas elected Richard Parker as the mayor of the West Midlands.

Conservative Andy Street (second left) shakes hands with Labour's Richard Parker (centre) as he is elected as the new Mayor of West Midlands.
Richard Parker was elected mayor of the West Midlands, unseating incumbent mayor Andy Street.

On 2 May 2024, Richard Parker was elected as mayor of the West Midlands by voters in Birmingham and six neighbouring local areas with 38% of the vote. The mayor heads the West Midlands combined authority (WMCA), which controls a £1.2bn budget.   

What was the result of the 2024 West Midlands mayoral election? 

Richard Parker has been elected as the second mayor of the West Midlands. He represents the Labour Party and was involved in the negotiation of the first West Midlands devolution deal as a PwC consultant. 15 Katie Neame, 'Richard Parker selected as Labour candidate for West Midlands mayor’ Labour List, 17 April 2023, retrieved 19 March 2024,

Parker’s highest share of the vote was 49% in Wolverhampton, and his lowest was 21% in Solihull.  

The turnout across the region was 30%, slightly lower than the 2021 election where turnout was 31%. 

The Conservative candidate was Andy Street, who was the incumbent coming into the 2024 election, having been elected in 2017 and in 2021. Street also received 38% of the vote, and lost the election by 0.3% of the vote.

Akhmed Yakoob, an independent candidate, came third with 12% of the vote. The Liberal Democrat candidate was Sunny Virk, a barrister and mediator. 16 BBC, ‘Lib Dems select West Midlands Mayor candidate’, BBC, 14 March 2024, retrieved 19 March 2024,  Siobhan Harper-Nunes, the vice-chair of the Birmingham Race Impact Group, was the Green Party candidate. 17 Alexander Brock, ‘Green Party announces candidate for West Midlands mayoral election this spring’, Birmingham Mail, 29 January 2024, retrieved 19 March 2024,  Reform UK’s candidate was Elaine Williams, a solicitor. 18 BBC, ‘Reform UK picks candidate for West Midlands mayor’, BBC, 19 March 2024, retrieved 19 March 2024,

What is the history of devolution to the West Midlands?

In November 2015, a ‘devolution deal’ was reached between the UK government and seven local council leaders in the West Midlands metropolitan area. This deal led to the creation of a new West Midlands Combined Authority led by a directly elected ‘metro mayor’.

WMCA was established as a legal entity in June 2016. Further devolution deals were reached between the government and WMCA in 2017 and 2023, when a ‘trailblazer’ deal was concluded.

What is the West Midlands Combined Authority?

As a combined authority, the WMCA has the ability to take certain collective decisions and exercise delegated functions that cross council boundaries.

The WMCA has eight members including the mayor, who chairs the authority, and leaders of the seven constituent authorities: Birmingham City Council, Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council, Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council, Coventry City Council, Walsall Metropolitan Borough Council, Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council, and the City of Wolverhampton Council. 

Local authority party control is split across the region: Labour controls four of the constituent councils and the Conservatives two, while Dudley is under no overall control.

A further 10 neighbouring local authorities are non-constituent members, with fewer voting rights on WMCA decisions. The Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) for Greater Birmingham and Solihull is also a non-constituent member and several other organisations ‘observe’ the WMCA with no voting rights.

The total population of the area covered by the WMCA is 2.9 million. Including the area covered by non-constituent local authorities, this rises to 4.7 million.

Local and mayoral elections 2024

On Thursday 2 May, voters across England and Wales headed to the polls in a major set of mayoral and local elections. Keep up with our latest content, events and analysis on why these elections matter and the results.

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Voting count council workers counting papers

What are the powers of the West Midlands mayor and combined authority?

The powers and responsibilities of the WMCA and metro mayor are focused on economic functions, including transport, adult skills, infrastructure, housing and business support.

The WMCA controls a consolidated, devolved transport budget, the local roads network, and has the power to introduce bus franchising. It is also responsible for the 19+ adult education budget, used to fund a range of training and skills programmes.

The WMCA works with constituent and non-constituent members on spatial planning and redevelopment of brownfield land, including by using compulsory purchasing powers to acquire land. However, formal planning powers rest primarily with individual local councils.

The WMCA controls a 30-year capital investment fund of £8 billion, subject to five-yearly reviews, which is invested in transport projects and other capital programs to increase regional productivity and growth.

The metro mayor has few executive powers that he can exercise unilaterally. In most cases, decisions of the WMCA must be approved by either a majority or two thirds of the WMCA members.

The West Midlands agreed a ‘trailblazer’ devolution deal with the government in March 2023, as did Greater Manchester. Once implemented, this deal will give WMCA further powers over post-19 skills, housing and regeneration, transport, and net zero.

The trailblazer deal will also reform WMCA’s funding model to treat it more like a government department, giving the combined authority more autonomy. Several funding streams will be consolidated into a single, non-ringfenced, settlement for each spending review period. In exchange, WMCA and the government will agree a “streamlined, overarching single accountability process” with specific outcomes for WMCA to achieve over each spending review period.

What is the WMCA’s budget?

In February 2024, WMCA agreed a balanced budget of £1.2bn for the 2024/25 financial year, split between £707m capital expenditure and a £507m revenue budget, for day-to-day spending.

A total of £582m (82%) of the planned capital budget is allocated to transport investments, including both WMCA-delivered projects and local authority projects supported by grants from the combined authority. Housing and regeneration (£95m) accounts for most of the rest of the planned capital spending. 

The largest source of capital funding is central government grants, including the City Region Sustainable Transport Settlement, which alone accounts for £259m (37%) of planned capital spending in 2024/25. Borrowing by the combined authority will also contribute a substantial amount of funding.

As for the revenue budget, £404m (80%) of planned expenditure has been allocated to the categories of ‘transport delivery’ (£198m) and ‘economic delivery, skills and communities’ (£206m). Important sources of income include central government grants, including £142m for the adult education budget, and a total of £123m received as a transport levy paid by constituent authorities to the combined authority.

West Midlands Combined Authority expenditure

How does the WMCA compare to the rest of the UK in terms of social and economic outcomes?

The WMCA region (comprising the seven constituent local areas) lags behind the UK average in terms of key economic indicators such as labour productivity, gross median weekly pay and employment – though on each of these indicators at least one local area within the region performs better than the UK as a whole.

As a region, the WMCA also ranks below the UK average in terms of the skills of its population, male healthy life expectancy at age 65, and the share of the population that use public transport to get to work.

The region ranks above the UK average in terms of the proportion of private rented homes that meets the decent homes standard and the percentage of premises that are ready for gigabit broadband.

How does the WMCA area overlap with other administrative boundaries?

The WMCA region intersects in complex ways with other local administrative boundaries. It overlaps with three NHS Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs): Black Country and West Birmingham, Birmingham and Solihull, and Coventry and Warwickshire.

The WMCA region is coterminous with the West Midlands police force area. The government laid a statutory instrument on 7 February 2024 to transfer police and crime commissioner functions to the mayor in May 2024. However the West Midlands police and crime commissioner at the time Simon Foster lodged a successful Judicial Review which found that there had been insufficient public consultation, and prevented the responsibilities being transferred for the 2024 election. 20 R (Police and Crime Commissioner for the West Midlands) -v- Secretary of State for the Home Department [2024] EWHC 604 (Admin),

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