The Case for Cambridge

Cambridge has a dynamic economy and a proven track record of high value, accelerated growth. It has exceptional characteristics that make it a leader in the development of prosperity for the whole of the UK. However, the city is at a crossroads − poised for the next wave of growth but held back by a need for infrastructure investment.

The Case for Cambridge

About The Case for CambridgePartners logos in col v2

A Partnership of 11 key organisations from business, academia and local government believes that Cambridge is yet to achieve its full potential. In order to realise high value, economic growth the partners have joined forces to find solutions to ensure that Cambridge maintains a leading position in the global economy.

The Case for Cambridge is an ambitious initiative designed to convince central Government of the urgent need for investment in infrastructure, housing and skills to ensure the city’s continued growth. The prospectus outlines five key asks to Government to enable the city to begin its next period of growth. View the e-zine version or the 12pp PDF of The Case for Cambridge prospectus. NB iOS/Mac users do not appear to be able to view the e-zine so please view the PDF. If you would like a hard copy posted to you, please contact MCS.

Key facts about Cambridge

  • Cambridge has developed an outstanding record of business success, based on a symbiotic relationship between a world-leading University and one of Europe’s top technology clusters.
  • Local GVA per capita is 34% higher than the national average.
  • Cambridge is one of the few cities making a net contribution to the UK Treasury.
  • Cambridge has nearly 9 times the number of patents per head of the average of the next 9 highest cities in the UK.
  • More than 25 of the world’s largest corporations have established operations in the city.
  • Cambridge unemployment is a quarter of the national average.
  • There are over 4,500 knowledge-intensive companies registered within 25 miles of Cambridge. They have grown employment by 7.4% per annum since 2011.
  • The proportion of local company employment engaged in knowledge-intensive activities is exceptional at 30%, compared with a 12% national average.
  • View a list of Cambridge organisations whose ideas are changing the world.


  • Public transport is inadequate with chronic congestion on the roads
  • There is a shortage of housing along with rocketing house prices.
  • Schools are poorly funded – funding per pupil for Cambridgeshire schools is about £600 less than the English average.
  • The paucity of ‘Grade A’ Office and Research & Development space is a serious constraint to business growth.
  • There is a shortage of workers with practical and vocational workplace skills.

The Five Asks of Government

  1. A tax increment financing deal underpinned by increased tax revenues that will provide capital for infrastructure and potentially lever the private capital for infrastructure investment that we see evidence of. We estimate a three to one return on GVA to investment.
  2. More imaginative funding approaches for local and other public authorities to engage with private sector investors and allow more joint investments in housing and infrastructure, including through the Housing Revenue debt-cap relaxation and private sector infrastructure bonds. We believe there is a huge amount of commercial funding that could be unlocked for the region if Government can help us to release it.
  3. Development of a Cambridge regional transport plan with the key infrastructure agencies ─ Highways England and Network Rail ─ that reflects local priorities.
  4. A devolved model of skills funding to ensure that the training and apprenticeships provided meet the needs of the local business growth.
  5. An update to the 30-year-old schools’ funding model for fairer funding in local schools.


Picture of the cover of The Case for Cambridge prospectus

Download a printable pdf of the prospectus.

So there is a danger that Hi-tech companies in the city will expand elsewhere in the world. If the key sectors of infrastructure, housing, education and skills do not keep up with the area’s pace of growth, the opportunity of creating an advanced economy will be stifled and potential prosperity for the UK lost.

Approaches to Whitehall are ongoing. We can be self-reliant and drive Cambridge’s growth, if Government can provide us with the devolved powers we need. The economy has a strength and resilience which with the right conditions can raise and attract its own investment. All we require from Government is a framework in which to operate.

Launch event

Watch a compelling 8 minute video compiled from the public launch of the initiative which took place on Friday 9th October 2015 at the Cambridge Union. Read about the event and media coverage here.