THE county council's leader has refused to rule out changing his mind over a devolution deal from Government - if he feels Worcestershire is getting left behind.

Warwickshire is now expected to perform a spectacular u-turn in agreeing to join the huge West Midlands 'combined authority' to try and help its economy.

The massive body, which now covers great swathes of the region, is aiming to grab devolved powers and cash from Whitehall.

As the Worcester News revealed last year the Conservative leadership at County Hall has refused to get involved, with former leader Adrian Hardman rejecting an attempt to be sucked into it.

But Councillor Simon Geraghty, who took over as leader back in January, says they may have to re-think their plea for a 'single county' deal if there are signs it is not working.

Right now Worcestershire's leaders are intent on sealing a devolution offer similar to Cornwall, where council chiefs have finalised a devolution arrangement without going beyond its boundaries.

But with Warwickshire now all set to join the regional authority, one its own politicians heavily criticised as a "Greater Birmingham" last year, Worcestershire's leaders could yet change tack and consider alternatives.

Councillor Geraghty has now penned his own thoughts in an annual 'state of the county report', an eight-page document.

In it, he calls the 'Midlands Engine' a "really ambitious project" aimed at boosting the economy by £34 billion by focusing on the UK region from Bredon to Lincolnshire.

He also defends the lobbying over a single county deal, but says a re-think is not out of the question.

"In our conversations with the Government we have presented a coherent and united voice in our pitch for a single county devolution deal," he said.

"Our plan has genuine buy-in from districts, the Local Enterprise Partnership, police and NHS.

"However, it's clear the Government is now working on larger geographic footprints than single counties without a mayoral model.

"Many of the things we want to do with partners we can achieve without (the) Government, but it will undoubtedly be somewhat slower and issues around data sharing and different inspection regimes could hold us back.

"Therefore we will continue to work with our partners to see what can be done without a devolution deal.

"And (we'll) assess whether a different configuration or arrangement could achieve our desired outcomes whilst continuing to monitor the progress of those deals already agreed and the evolving position of the Government on deals outside of the 'City Mayor' model."

Last year the leadership unveiled a six-point blueprint of priorities under a devolution deal, including health and social care reform, sharing of public sector buildings and skills and innovation.

It also included more responsibility over the environment and a pioneering project called 'connecting families'.

Warwickshire's county council is voting next week on becoming a non-voting member of the West Midlands Combined Authority.