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Coventry has “crucial say” in the devolution debate

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Coventry, site of Warwick University campus, must decide whether to join the Northern or Southern region as plans are made to devolve more political power to local authorities.

Calls to devolve more political power away from Westminster and to regional authorities raises the question of where to place boundaries between regions.

The debate sees Coventry placed on the boundary between North and South and having to decide whether to join Warwickshire or Birmingham.

This was one of the main talking points at Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce’s “Big Business Debate” involving over 100 business, political and academic leaders from across the West Midlands, according to BBC reports.

Professor David Bailey, of Birmingham’s Aston University, mapped out a line that marked the north and south regions of the United Kingdom.

The dividing line places Coventry on the opposite side from the county town of Warwick.

Jerry Blackett, chief executive of the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Chambers, argued that “whatever side of the line it falls, the West Midlands stands together and must not allow itself to be rent asunder by any arbitrary axes”, as reported by Patrick Burns, political editor of Midlands news at the BBC.

He adds that “It was lost on none of those present that Coventry is on the cusp of a great political decision.”

Conservative MP for Rugby, Mark Pawsey – a panelist at the debate – stated that devolution was seen by all three main Parliamentary parties as a way of empowering non-metropolitan England to “emerge from its total eclipse by planet London”.

Coventry’s decision is expected early in the new year.

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