We refuse to be sucked up into 'Greater Birmingham', says Worcestershire County Council leader

Malvern Gazette: Councillor Adrian Hardman, the leader of Worcestershire County Council Councillor Adrian Hardman, the leader of Worcestershire County Council

THE leader of Worcestershire County Council has taken a swipe at the Second City - saying he will refuse to be "sucked into Greater Birmingham".

Councillor Adrian Hardman has issued a rallying call to politicians across the county by insisting they must resist any attempts to create a controversial 'City region'.

Factions in the Coalition Government - including deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg - are keen for well-populated parts of the UK to be carved up into 'City' style regions to bid for larger pots of funding and take extra powers from Whitehall.

The idea, which was originally touted in Tony Blair's days, could have serious implications for Worcestershire as Birmingham is one area ministers are keen to effectively expand.

Mr Hardman has recently been in briefings with ministers who have made it clear changes could be afoot after the 2015 general election.

It is expected to focus on re-shaping Local Enterprise Partnerships, of which Worcestershire's is one of the smallest in the country.

On top of that, on Tuesday Lord Adonis published his long-awaited economic review for the Labour Party calling on greater devolution to large cities.

He said 'combined' councils should be given "serious responsibility" and hard cash for new houses, schools, roads and other massive infrastructure projects to take growth away from London and into other parts of the UK.

Cllr Hardman said: "I am clear that we must at all costs try and preserve a Worcestershire LEP and if we fail in this, then we would do everything in our power not to be sucked into the 'Greater Birmingham LEP'.

"At the moment the Greater Birmingham argument appears to be carrying more weight with ministers than anything else."

He told your Worcester News the county should not be used to try and "solve the problems" the Second City faces.

"We know there is this emphasis on 'City regions', there's nothing new in that, it's been around since Tony Blair's days but we've seen what Lord Adonis has now said," he said.

"Dudley used to be part of Worcestershire before we lost that, and so did Frankley, so we're used to losing chunks of the north of the county.

"But the answer to solving Birmingham's problems isn't to suck Worcestershire up into it."

Comments (5)

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10:17am Thu 3 Jul 14

brooksider says...

Spendid Isolation!

Adrian Hardman presides over a Council which, economically, sits in the wake of the West Midlands, South East and even Gloucestershire.

The majority of Worcestershire's wealth is not created within the County borders and the County has become a collection of dormitory towns.

Worcester County Council consistently fails with the most basic infrastructure projects and struggles to attract major employers.
Spendid Isolation! Adrian Hardman presides over a Council which, economically, sits in the wake of the West Midlands, South East and even Gloucestershire. The majority of Worcestershire's wealth is not created within the County borders and the County has become a collection of dormitory towns. Worcester County Council consistently fails with the most basic infrastructure projects and struggles to attract major employers. brooksider
  • Score: 8

12:48pm Thu 3 Jul 14

Anthony Green says...

Classical "Little Britain" approach from Adrian Harman.
Classical "Little Britain" approach from Adrian Harman. Anthony Green
  • Score: 6

12:49pm Thu 3 Jul 14

Anthony Green says...

Classical "Little Britain" approach from Adrian Hardman
Classical "Little Britain" approach from Adrian Hardman Anthony Green
  • Score: -1

2:50pm Thu 3 Jul 14

Peter WR5 says...

I appreciate that the piece may represent only part of Cllr Hardman’s interview with Tom Edwards; however, I did not gather from it what he and the County’s political leadership have in mind for Worcestershire’s future economic and social prosperity. Staying out of Brum may be their solution, but Cllr Hardman needs to address why, "… the Greater Birmingham argument appears to be carrying more weight with ministers than anything else." I would ask our County politicians to reflect on the point that sound political leadership comes from vision. Perhaps, the a few moments of reflecting on Birmingham ‘greats’ like Joe Chamberlain, who died one hundred years ago yesterday, wouldn’t come amiss. Vision and political leadership are what we look for instead of what appears from the WN report to be an attitude grafted in negativity.
I appreciate that the piece may represent only part of Cllr Hardman’s interview with Tom Edwards; however, I did not gather from it what he and the County’s political leadership have in mind for Worcestershire’s future economic and social prosperity. Staying out of Brum may be their solution, but Cllr Hardman needs to address why, "… the Greater Birmingham argument appears to be carrying more weight with ministers than anything else." I would ask our County politicians to reflect on the point that sound political leadership comes from vision. Perhaps, the a few moments of reflecting on Birmingham ‘greats’ like Joe Chamberlain, who died one hundred years ago yesterday, wouldn’t come amiss. Vision and political leadership are what we look for instead of what appears from the WN report to be an attitude grafted in negativity. Peter WR5
  • Score: 3

3:00pm Thu 3 Jul 14

green49 says...

I have always said Hardman should be sacked he is not up to the job, he intimidates employees and is not approachable, he spouts TORY party politics when he should be chairing a neutral meeting, he should go and take his merrymen with him.
Totally out of touch with the public and the taxpayers who pay his salary, note i said pay, he doesnt earn it.
I have always said Hardman should be sacked he is not up to the job, he intimidates employees and is not approachable, he spouts TORY party politics when he should be chairing a neutral meeting, he should go and take his merrymen with him. Totally out of touch with the public and the taxpayers who pay his salary, note i said pay, he doesnt earn it. green49
  • Score: 6
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