16 November 2016

Reacting to the interim NIC report, published today, Chairman of England’s Economic Heartland Martin Tett said:

"It is good to see that the potential of the Heartlands has been recognised. Britain needs a strong economy built around the successes of the high tech, innovative centres of Oxford, Milton Keynes and Cambridge.

“We would urge the Chancellor to now help unlock this potential by investing in schemes like East West Rail and the Oxford to Cambridge Expressway. I would urge this to be fully recognised in the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement next week."

The full NIC report is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-national-infrastructure-commissions-interim-report-into-the-cambridge-milton-keynes-oxford-corridor

Key Strategic Alliance views from the report:

  • The report says that England’s Economic Heartland is a national asset, one whose economic success is central to the future of the UK economy.
  • The NIC saying the area could compare with America’s Silicon Valley
  • The current economy is worth £92.5bn. On current trends the report suggests this can grow by an additional £85bn (by 2050) but the potential is to grow by an additional £163bn (by 2050) if the area can deliver a new model of integrated planning and infrastructure delivery – that’s a 176% increase in our economy in 34 years!
  • The Commission says that there is a need for a step change in strategic leadership – The Strategic Alliance was established in response to Public and Business Sector Leaders recognising this need.
  • The report recognises the Strategic Alliance’s work to date on strategic transport and there is clear future commitment to look at the broader infrastructure agenda.
  • The Alliance welcomes the call for £100m to be brought forward to help with delivery of EWR Western Section and the call for an additional £10m to enable planning work on the Central Section to be taken forward and we look for the Chancellor to confirm this in next week’s Autumn Statement..
  • The Alliance expresses its disappointment that the NIC does not challenge the timetable for delivery of Western Section (the report talks about delivery in 2022-2024) – the report talks about the need to deliver Western Section ahead of HS2.
  • Welcome the recommendation for £27m to be available to take forward work on the development of the Expressway. 
  • Welcome the recognition that as part of the integrated approach there is a need to look at skills and the wider Industrial Strategy
  • Agree with the NIC that this is a ‘once in a generation’ opportunity to deliver a ‘multi-modal transport spine’ across the Heartland area