Cambridge Ahead response to the Budget
Cambridge, UK. 23 November 2017: Business and academic member organisation, Cambridge Ahead has welcomed the emphasis given to further investment in education, skills and local infrastructure – particularly transport, housing and digital connectivity in yesterday’s budget statement.
Improved accessibility and digital connectivity is essential to delivering a sustainable and growing economy across the region. Cambridge Ahead welcomes the additional funding for transport initiatives, to include £5M to bring forward plans for a new Cambridge South railway station and east-west rail link between Oxford, Bedford and Cambridge. These developments will improve the flow of skilled labour and help our regional economy continues to flourish.
Further investment in skills for the digital economy (£30m) and an additional £2.3bn investment in research and development is also welcomed, as is the increase in R&D reliefs under the ‘RDEC’ scheme to 12%, all of which are particularly pertinent, given our region’s world class life sciences and high-tech sectors which are of national importance.
These investments, alongside £500m support for 5G mobile networks, full fibre broadband and artificial intelligence, confirm the commitment to creating a high-tech economy across the UK, within which the Cambridge region already plays a leading role.
Having carried out research earlier this year, which highlighted the need to develop proactive strategies to attract teachers to the Cambridgeshire region, Cambridge Ahead is also encouraged to see that £40m will be allocated to a teacher training fund for underperforming schools in England – worth £1,000 per teacher. This is in addition to funds being allocated to the recruitment of 8,000 new computer science teachers across the UK.
Jane Paterson CEO of Cambridge Ahead commented: “There are a number of positive statements in the budget which will help the economy of Cambridge and the surrounding region. The funding to help bring forward plans for a new Cambridge South Station is particularly welcome.”