04-Oct-2020

A bold vision to create a global hub for innovation and green development that inspires communities worldwide.

The Oxford to Cambridge Arc, which the Chancellor of the Exchequer described as a "key economic priority" for the country, has unveiled its bold vision in a prospectus [PDF, 6.5MB] that has been submitted to government. The Arc’s ambition is to unlock the potential of its assets to create a world-leading innovation economy.

The Arc is already home to nearly four million people and two million jobs which together generate over £111 billion of economic output each year. Based upon determined leadership and new financial backing, forecasts show that increased productivity resulting from intensifying the Arc’s global strengths in science, technology and high-value manufacturing, could double the area’s economic output to over £200bn by 2050.

Cllr Barry Wood, Chair of the Arc Leaders Group and Leader of Cherwell District Council, said: "The Arc region has a critical mass of research, high-technology expertise and innovation assets found nowhere else in the UK. Yet we are at a pivotal time, during which our nation’s economic resilience is being tested far beyond anything we’ve seen before. Working with government we can release the potential of the Arc’s key sectors, scientific community and entrepreneurial spirit to propel our country’s response to the major national and global challenges we face."

Executive Leader of Huntingdonshire District Council, Cllr Ryan Fuller, said: "Government prioritisation of investment in the Oxford to Cambridge Arc will deliver very positive benefits for Huntingdonshire which is the Arc gateway to the rest of Cambridgeshire. The Arc already houses some of the country’s most productive towns and cities, but to help it and Huntingdonshire generate further growth and become a world-class economic hub, the right infrastructure and investment is needed.

We have already welcomed the initiation of the East-West rail project which aims to increase connectivity across the Arc, linking together our largest market town with neighbouring cities and growth areas. We have long strived to promote increased productivity to boost economic growth and prosperity in Huntingdonshire and deliver better jobs and higher incomes for people. Being a partner in the Arc project allows us to directly contribute towards delivering those aspirations for residents and businesses, developing skilled work, growth opportunities and local prosperity."

The prospectus asks for commitment from government to long term investment in the area, enabling the Arc to fulfil its true potential to deliver transformational economic growth that will benefit the whole of the UK. That investment will be crucial to tackle connectivity and congestion constraints and to provide the skills that industry requires to enable the Arc to pursue its role as a leading global innovation region.

Jeremy Long, Chair of the Arc Local Enterprise Partnerships Group, said: "Our vision is for the Arc to be a global hub for innovation, and home to exemplary models of green development that will inspire communities around the world. The Arc’s place is at the forefront of the UK’s green recovery and this will be made possible through bold leadership that focuses on the big opportunities. The Arc’s world-leading innovation across multiple sectors can deliver prosperity for the UK. We now need the commitment from government and international investors to make the ambition a reality."

The Arc will pursue innovation-led growth to help solve major, urgent environmental, health and social challenges, and at the same time, drive UK competitiveness and local prosperity. The Arc’s vision specifically sets out a plan to make the UK a world-leader in new technology and industries in zero-carbon aviation, space, life sciences, future mobility and energy.

Professor Sir Peter Gregson, Chair of the Arc Universities Group, said: "With investment, we can better connect and realise the potential of our world-class assets and the know-how created by our area’s people, businesses and institutions. We aim to be a testbed for new ways of living and working including by demonstrating net zero carbon and environmental net gain are achievable and economically beneficial. This connection will unlock the potential across our sector strengths to propel the Arc and the UK into an era of global growth at the vanguard of innovation."