Leader Views


Posted on:
29th June, 2018

Oxford Cambridge Corridor can underpin UK economic performance

Earlier this week, Bidwells published a research paper entitled ‘Branding the CAMKOX Arc’. In it, they outlined how the Oxford-Cambridge Corridor must be ‘positioned clearly in the minds of global investors’ so the region can ‘build on its strengths’.

Oxford Cambridge Corridor can underpin UK economic performance

On 21 June, I took part in the Oxford-Cambridge Corridor Economic Growth Conference – an event that brought together the region’s business and public sector leaders, debating key growth themes, namely Place-making, Connectivity and Productivity and the opportunities offered by each for the region.

At the event, stakeholders focussed on our combined regional strengths and how – collectively – we can make the most of them, whether it’s our space and high-tech engineering capabilities in Oxfordshire, strong business growth in Northamptonshire, the excellent financial and professional services in Milton Keynes or the bioscience assets in Cambridgeshire.

To maximise our strengths, what is clear is the need to tell this story effectively.

In their report, Bidwells said that the university cities of Oxford and Cambridge were ‘key to the positioning’ the Corridor’s story successfully.

It said: ‘The magnets at either end of the Cambridge-Milton Keynes-Oxford (CaMkOx) Arc are drawing the mainstream media’s attention to the transport, housing and infrastructure projects planned’, which would ‘strength belief in the huge economic potential of the region’.

Leveraging our two internationally-renowned cities – on a global scale – will support us to make the most of what the region has to offer in terms of growth and productivity, but so is the need to emphasise the ‘place potential’ offered right across the Corridor, ensuring that UK PLC can capitalise on ALL the economic strengths of the region.

Currently, the Corridor contributes an impressive £90.5billion to the UK economy.

As a group, we need to quickly ensure we can create a genuine platform that can match what we have seen via the Midlands Engine and Northern Powerhouse – last year’s National Infrastructure Commission report  on the Corridor stated that its growth should be ‘a national priority’.

To some, the region might be (to use a cricketing term) a ‘corridor of uncertainty’. However, if the Oxford-Cambridge Corridor story is pitched correctly and told eloquently, as a region, our world-class research, innovation and technology capabilities will support the UK’s economic performance in a changing global economy.

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