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Five Asks of Government

​England's Economic Heartland has produced a 'call to action' for Government to accelerate delivery of infrastructure in the Oxford-Milton Keynes-Cambridge growth corridor.

The five 'asks', which you can expand below, would accelerate delivery of strategic infrastructure to support growth, while giving confidence to residents and investors that schemes will be built on time and to budget.

  • National Policy Statement National Policy Statement

    ​Government to commit to developing a geographically specific National Policy Statement for the Heartland

    The Government has accepted the National Infrastructure Commission’s view that realising the economic potential of the corridor is a national priority.

    England’s Economic Heartland shares this view.

    The work of the Commission forms a substantial evidence base on which to develop the case for investment. Work to be commissioned by England’s Economic Heartland will build on this and provide the detail that enables investment priorities to be developed and then delivered.

    Using this to produce a geographically specific National Policy Statement will:
    • Form a statement of policy that extends beyond a single electoral cycle thereby reassuring local communities and investors growth will be supported by investment in strategic infrastructure and services
    • Form the basis on which Government, economic regulators and local partners can ensure the alignment of investment in strategic infrastructure – specifically transport, digital, power and water – in support of planned growth

    • Establish the ‘need’ for investment in strategic infrastructure and services thereby accelerating the delivery of proposals.

    Whilst it would be for Government to promote the NPS, it would be developed on a joint basis with England’s Economic Heartland.

  • Major Scheme Development Fund Major Scheme Development Fund

    ​Government to establish a ‘major scheme development fund’ to support local partners bring forward proposals for inclusion in the infrastructure pipeline

    Government has identified the importance of developing a strategic infrastructure pipeline. England’s Economic Heartland’s ‘delivery partners’ are committed to working collaboratively at a strategic level in the development and delivery of strategic infrastructure.

    This provides England’s Economic Heartland with access to knowledge and experience that enables a cost effective approach to scheme development as part of a co-ordinated programme of investment.

    The development of proposals for strategic transport infrastructure currently requires local transport authorities to commit significant revenue resource ‘at risk’. Pressures on local authority revenue budgets generally make it difficult for local transport authorities to divert revenue from front line services.

    The ‘major scheme development fund’ would be a revenue fund, jointly managed by the Department for Transport and England’s Economic Heartland. Local transport authorities developing strategic investment proposals that are agreed regional priorities would eligible to receive 50% of the development costs from the fund.

    The development, and subsequent delivery, of the infrastructure pipeline would generate additional tax revenues from the additional economic activity enabled.

  • Indicative Funding Envelope Indicative Funding Envelope

    ​Government to provide England’s Economic Heartland with an ‘indicative funding envelope’ to be used in the prioritisation of strategic investment proposals

    Accelerating the delivery of planned growth, and considering higher levels of growth in the longer-term will require additional  investment in strategic infrastructure and services.

    In asking the National Infrastructure Commission to develop its advice on the long term infrastructure requirements for the UK, the Government identified an ‘indicative funding envelope’.

    Providing clarity as to the likely level of funding in this way enabled a mature assessment of infrastructure requirements at the national level.

    The arguments that support Government’s decision to identify an ‘indicative funding envelope’ nationally are as applicable to determining strategic priorities for the Heartland.

  • Joint Business Delivery Unit Joint Business Delivery Unit

    Government and England’s Economic Heartland to establish a Joint Business Delivery Unit with a remit to accelerate the development and delivery of strategic infrastructure and services identified as being of national significance

    In response to the National Infrastructure Commission’s report the Government has strengthened collaborative working across Whitehall in support of realising the economic potential of the corridor.

    England’s Economic Heartland has established the EEH Business Unit as a strategic resource, with the capacity and capability to commission work in support of realising the economic potential of the corridor.

    England’s Economic Heartland’s ‘delivery partners’ complement and support the work of the EEH Business Unit providing access to knowledge and experience that enables a programme approach to the planning and delivery of strategic infrastructure and services.

    The approach used to develop East West Rail provides a template on which to strengthen strategic collaborative working between England’s Economic Heartland and Government. Joint working on East West Rail has ensured the scheme has embedded a shared commitment to its delivery. It has led to local partners undertaking ‘work in kind’ as part of the scheme development, work that has de-risked its delivery.

    Establishing a Joint Business Delivery Unit – one that brings together Government and England’s Economic Heartland on an equal basis – would strengthen collaborative working. Sharing of resources and co-commissioning of technical work would result in efficiencies and remove inertia from the development and delivery of strategic infrastructure and services.

  • Strategic Infrastructure Priorities Strategic Infrastructure Priorities

    Government to make the following commitments in respect of strategic infrastructure priorities for the Heartland (see map.jpg)

    North-South Rail Connectivity:  to commit to using the delivery of East West Rail and HS2 as the opportunity to introduce a new northsouth passenger service connecting Northampton – Milton Keynes– Aylesbury – High Wycombe – Old Oak Common/Park Royal.

    East West Rail (Western Section): to make the funds available in order to enable the scheme to be delivered with high capacity fibre/5G infrastructure installed throughout its length in such a way that it benefits both rail passengers and surrounding areas.

    East West Rail (Bicester): to make the identification of a long-term solution to removing the conflict at the London Road level crossing in Bicester a national strategic priority for Network Rail.

    A1(M) Corridor: to ensure that the Road Investment Strategy 2 (for the period 2020-2025) includes a commitment to fund the development and begin the delivery of improvements to this corridor.

    A428 Black Cat to Caxton Gibbet: to apply the same level of Ministerial commitment in support of this scheme as applied to East West Rail, to ensure that Highways England deliver this scheme at the earliest possible opportunity.

    Cambridge South Station: to make the delivery of this station a national priority and provide Network Rail with the funding that enables it to be delivered within the next three years.


​These five 'asks' are guided by three key principles:

• In order to give confidence to existing communities we must collectively ensure that investment already planned is delivered to time and to programme

• In order to accelerate the delivery of planned growth infrastructure owners must be resourced to enable a pipeline of investment to be mapped out

• In this way we will create the conditions that give confidence to future investors that this is indeed a place where they can choose to say yes to invest.

All parties need to act at pace and to use the investment made in developing effective strategic collaborative working as the foundation on which to accelerate delivery: to turn high level rhetoric into action on the ground in support of our communities and businesses.

England’s Economic Heartland shares the Government’s ambition for the corridor. However, delivering such a transformational agenda will require a sustained, co-ordinated programme of investment in strategic infrastructure and services. Additional investment will be required if higher levels of growth are to be realised in ways that also see net overall betterment for the corridor’s residents and businesses.

The full extent of the investments and associated actions will emerge as our programme of work is taken forward.