Cambridge Ahead welcomes the Independent Economic Review and highlights need for infrastructure investment in Greater Cambridge

Cambridge Ahead welcomes the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Independent Economic Review (CPIER) published today. The review, led by leading economist Dame Kate Barker, has made a number of important recommendations for the regional economy. Although funded by the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority and Cambridge Ahead, the Commission has reached its conclusions independently based on a significant weight of evidence.

 

 

Key findings, which Cambridge Ahead agree need to be taken forward, include:

  • The identification of three distinct economic geographies in the Combined Authority area and the need for policy and delivery to be tailored to their particular circumstances so each can achieve its potential. The need to prioritise infrastructure projects, key road and rail links, and final mile solutions for Greater Cambridge
  • That all local partners need to come together to drive agreed priorities forward
  • That health and well-being, skills and quality of life must be central elements when considering the local industrial strategy to be drawn up by the Combined Authority
  • That Government needs to deliver further fiscal devolution to unlock the potential of the whole area
  • The importance of Greater Cambridge in attracting foreign direct investment to the county and the UK.

In relation to Greater Cambridge, the review points to the need for the UK Government to adopt a “Cambridge or overseas” mentality towards knowledge-intensive businesses. Maintaining a supportive environment for these businesses should be considered a nationally strategic priority.

Ian Mather, Chairman of Cambridge Ahead said: “This report is a highly significant piece of work. It has unearthed key facts about the region, including that the rate of economic growth has been higher than previously thought. This has led to an infrastructure gap that needs to be filled, in particular relating to housing and transport, and the review provides an excellent basis for wider considerations such as the development of the Cambridge-Milton Keynes-Oxford Arc. All who live and work in Greater Cambridge will welcome CPIER’s findings that a package of transport and other infrastructure projects, designed to alleviate the growing pains of the area, should be considered the single most important priority for our region. This requires better collaboration between the Combined Authority, local councils and the GCP, as well as further devolution from central Government, including fiscal powers, and stronger engagement from businesses and academia.”

Jane Paterson–Todd, CEO Cambridge Ahead added: “This independent review of the Cambridgeshire economy emphasises the dynamism and potential of the region but also the risk to future growth if barriers are not tackled.  It clearly demonstrates the opportunities for all the region’s communities that investment will bring and its positive impact for the whole UK economy.  We welcome its findings and are proud to have supported this work from the start. We look forward to seeing its recommendations addressed in the Combined Authority’s local industrial strategy.”

The final report can be found at http://www.cpier.org.uk/final-report/