This is the text of the message received on 17th November 2015 from Martin Reeves, Chief Executive of Coventry City Council:

Dear colleague,

You may have already seen some coverage of this issue in our local/regional/national media but I wanted to make sure that you had the latest information from me on the proposed devolution deal now on offer to the West Midlands.

Last month councillors agreed to join with others across the region to form the West Midlands Combined Authority and this week, after months of negotiation between leaders of councils and the government, a devo deal offer from government to the West Midlands has been finalised. I wanted to let you know about some of the details in the offer ahead of wider media coverage.

The headline figures include an overall £8billion package of funding with – importantly for us – a £150millon cash boost for Coventry to speed up our city centre regeneration. The Leader of the Council made it very clear in negotiations that there needed to be significant benefits for our city and that city centre regeneration was a high priority for Coventry people.

The devo deal being offered to the West Midlands – the biggest so far negotiated by a region - could also see us benefit from a £370million package of transport schemes, including a £48million sprint bus link to the HS2/UK Central station which will be just six miles from Coventry when complete. The West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) could also take control of buses across the region.

If we agree to the deal we will also get access to wider funding pots for transport, housing, business investment, land reclamation, business support and employment, education and skills.

The £150million bonus for the city centre would help deliver two new office blocks at the Friargate development ahead of schedule. It will also provide the funding to develop our city centre south retail and leisure scheme which will see new shops – including a high profile anchor store – and restaurants developed next to the new leisure centre to be built on the current site of council offices in Greyfriars Lane. Work could get underway on both projects as early as next summer (2016). The deal document itself will be available on the West Midlands Combined Authority website (www.westmidlandscombinedauthority.org.uk) so please have a look at the details in the document and drop me a line if there’s anything you’d like to know more about.

There’s also more information on our own website, which we’ll keep updating with relevant information - www.coventry.gov.uk/combinedauthority From now until January 2016 there will be an opportunity for everyone in the West Midlands, including residents, business and universities, to understand the detail of the deal, which will have to be agreed individually by each of the local councils involved.

Agreeing a devo deal would give the West Midlands the platform and a bigger voice to argue for further devolution of powers as has already happened in Greater Manchester.

But we are not rushing into this. The Leader of the Council has made it very clear that we need to spend the next few weeks working through the detail, talking to local people and key partners like the business community so everyone understands what’s on offer and what the future looks like if we don’t do a devo deal with government.

This is a very important step forward for Coventry and the wider West Midlands although we still have a lot of work to do on the details of the deal and setting up the West Midlands Combined Authority over the coming months.

Best wishes

Martin Reeves