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WBF – VIRTUAL – Developing the Oxford-MK-Cambridge Arc Economy

22 September - 09:00 - 13:00


Westminster Business Forum policy conference

Developing the Oxford-MK-Cambridge Arc economy – implementing the economic vision, building on the region’s research base and, priorities in the wake of COVID-19

Bridget Rosewell, Commissioner, National Infrastructure Commission
Nigel Tipple, Chief Executive, OxLEP and Productivity Group Member, Ox-Cambridge Arc

James Palmer, Mayor, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority

Councillor Barry Wood, Chair, Arc Leaders Group and Leader, Cherwell District Council

Brian Eversham, Wildlife Trust BCNP and Cranfield University and Alistair Lomax, University of Buckingham and Arc Universities Group


Chaired by: Daniel Zeichner MP, Member of Parliament for Cambridge

The discussion in detail:

  • How to further support innovation and the ways in which the region’s universities and businesses can further contribute to the fight against the pandemic and increase collaboration
  • Promoting the Arc as a place to invest and the region’s likely impact on wider UK growth in economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic
  • The challenges for bringing together the distinct priorities of each constituent part of the Arc into a coherent strategy for the region as a whole – including the governance and joint working arrangements to deliver the plans and the recovery from COVID-19
  • Assessing the skills policy set out in the region’s industrial strategies that look to build a system that:
    • responds to local demand,
    • supports businesses in the region, and
    • meets the aspirations of the economic vision for the Arc
  • How to maximise the benefits of the significant infrastructure developments planned for the region – including:
    • East-West Rail,
    • the roll-out of both fibre broadband and 5G, and
    • potential road projects that could support the Arc as Highways England considers the next steps following the Government’s decision to pause work on the Oxford to Cambridge expressway.
  • Further development of the Arc’s clusters – including its seven Enterprise Zones – and how to achieve the ambitions in the joint declaration to position the Arc and its research and development resources to provide a testbed for new technologies
  • The support available for SMEs in the supply chain to scale-up and increase exports amidst concern that some start-ups could be priced out of the region because of high rents and about lack of laboratory space
  • How the Government and local partners can work together to market the Arc globally, looking at:
    • broadening the established brand of the regions to attract businesses, investors, talent, and visitors,
    • building on existing strengths of the region’s constituent areas, and
    • learning from the Northern Powerhouse and Midlands Engine concepts


Westminster Business Forum

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