- Deputy Mayor of London and Mayor of Cambridgeshire & Peterborough join UK business leaders, senior academics and economists at the LSCC’s Annual Conference today at the British Library in London.
- Ahead of the Queen’s speech tomorrow, a warning given to Government that any deals with other parties should not come at the expense of the vital tech and innovation “corridor” which runs from the Capital up to Stansted and Cambridge.
- Calls for continued investment in major infrastructure projects such as Crossrail 2 amidst fears that taking funding from UK’s most economically productive regions could weaken economy as Brexit talks begin.
Speaking today (20 June) at the LSCC Annual Conference, delegates from across the political spectrum and from major UK businesses, science, technology and academia warned the Prime Minister not to put the UK economy at risk.
The hung Parliament, and any resulting Government deals with other parties, risk funding being diverted away from the UK’s most productive economic centres, such as London and the vital technology, science and innovation “corridor” that runs between the capital and Cambridge. The fear is that resources may be targeted to areas across the UK that do not have the capacity to support the economy after Brexit.
The London Stansted Cambridge Corridor has the potential to become one of the world’s top knowledge regions, competing alongside global heavy-weights including the Silicon Valley and Greater Munich. Internationally well-connected by a growing Stanstead Airport, this corridor is already home to global-heavy weights, including Microsoft, Google, GSK and AstraZeneca, world-class research, bio-tech and educational institutions such as the University of Cambridge and UCL, and other British pioneers of ‘next generation’ enterprise with the potential for significant and sustainable economic growth.
Collectively businesses in the wider region already generate over £226 billion a year for the UK economy and employ one seventh of the nation’s workforce. However in 2016 the London Stanstead Cambridge Growth Commission reported that the region’s potential for growth is hampered by poor rail connections and increased pressure on housing. Failure to address these issues could result in major businesses choosing to invest outside of the UK in other global tech regions, such as Greater Munich, Silicon Valley or Singapore.
If Government is serious about creating a ‘Global Britain’ post-Brexit it must invest in the vital infrastructure to enable London and the corridor to meet its full potential and continue to thrive. This means that projects such as Crossrail 2 should be given the green light, four tracking of the West Anglia Mainline should proceed as a priority and work should continue to unlock the major development opportunities between London and Cambridge.
Andrew Cowan, CEO, London Stansted Airport, said:
“We are investing in our future with a new £130m arrivals terminal and plans afoot to make full and efficient use of our runway enabling us to meet London’s growing air passenger demand over the next decade. However, we are constrained by the existing rail infrastructure and need to see improvements in journey times, frequency and reliability of services between London, the airport and Cambridge to ensure the continued growth of not just Stansted but the entire region.”
John McGill, Director, London Stansted Cambridge Consortium (LSSC), said:
“The London Stanstead Cambridge Corridor is essentially the UK’s innovation hub and is home to world leaders in technology, life sciences, bio-tech and innovative digital start-ups. These are all sectors which are already recognised by Government as presenting significant opportunity for growth, but this is clearly contingent on the necessary infrastructure being in place. Simply maintaining the status quo is not an option and our concern now is that funding could now be diverted to other regions which do not have the capacity to deliver for the UK economy in the long term.”
Jules Pipe, Deputy Mayor of London for Planning, Regeneration and Skills, said:
“We want to work with existing corridor-based groupings, such as LSCC, to explore all the strategic opportunities for growth, and key to this will be looking at those infrastructure investments to support that growth that we all need to rally behind. There is scope for us to work together to ensure Government does all it can to promote these projects, like Crossrail 2, that meet our shared ambitions.”
James Palmer, Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, said:
“Only with the necessary investment in the right infrastructure from the Government will we be able to continue to provide a home to some of the biggest science and technology organisations in the world and deliver jobs and opportunities for people in the region.”