Chair's View: Investment in our region can deliver new government’s economic objectives

September 21st 2022

England’s Economic Heartland provides the opportunity for this government to deliver economic growth with innovation at its core.

The region’s networks of universities and businesses operate on a global scale. They play a leading role in high technology sectors including life sciences, future mobility, robotics, energy, digital, space and aerospace.

The region has the potential to perform an even greater role for the country. Speaking recently on the Today programme, the editor of The Economist, Zanny Minton Beddoes, said the new government should ‘boost the areas Britain is strongest at’ and highlighted ‘life sciences and new technologies’ in the ‘Oxford-Cambridge-London triangle’ as having the potential to ‘help the whole of Britain’.

Poor transport links and congestion, reflecting decades of under-investment are constraining business growth, restricting access to skills and hitting productivity.

Recovering that investment backlog and new resources are required to rise to these challenges and unlock the region’s true economic potential. East West Rail is a key priority and its benefits go far beyond improved journey times; it will connect businesses with skills, drive innovation and productivity and encourage new inward investment from abroad.

The success of East West Rail is dependent on all partners, including government, local authorities and the private sector working together to maximise its potential by:

  • Working with universities and higher education providers in our region to ensure there is a pipeline of new skills and talent.
  • Being a catalyst for the regeneration of our existing communities including providing opportunities for residents living in less well-connected areas to access a wider range of employment and education opportunities.
  • Ensuring stations are well served by public transport and active travel routes to ensure as many communities as possible benefit from investment in East West Rail.

With additional infrastructure investments including East West Rail, we can accelerate growth within this region to the benefit of the whole of the United Kingdom.

Cllr Richard Wenham

Chair, England's Economic Heartland