Independent Commission stresses national importance of inclusive growth agenda in Cambridgeshire & Peterborough.

Friday 14 September 2018

The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Independent Economic Review (CPIER) has today published its final report.

This report evidences the significant contribution Cambridgeshire and Peterborough already makes to the UK economy. The continued success of the region is of national importance - it will be one of the key centres of the national Industrial Strategy; can attract investment and jobs that may otherwise be lost to the UK entirely; and offers significant returns from increased levels of productivity.

However, to ensure this prosperous future, a number of risks and challenges need to be overcome. Local authorities need the powers and funding to address accumulated infrastructure and housing deficits, and to plan appropriately for future growth. Companies need to boost their efficiency and pay more attention to the health and well-being of their workforce. Recent high employment growth – which our data suggests could be as much as 3.3 per cent per annum – will prove unsustainable, unless these changes are made.

The report identifies three distinct economies – the Greater Cambridge area, Peterborough and the fens – and highlights the need for policies and delivery arrangements to be tailored to meet the needs of each, while developing mutual strengths. The Mayor’s Devolution Deal with Government included a target to increase economic output by nearly 100 per cent in the next 25 years, from £22bn to £40bn. The report highlights the actions needed to achieve this and secure a productive, equitable and prosperous future for the region.

The Commission calls upon central government, the Combined Authority, local authorities and businesses to accept and implement its recommendations and believes this area could become an exemplar of devolution for the UK.

The recommendations include:
- Infrastructure
- Housing
- Productivity-driven growth
- Skills
- Health
- Market Town Masterplans.

Dame Kate Barker, Chair of the CPIEC commented: “This area has been growing significantly – faster we believe than official figures indicate. But to continue this robust growth, both from homegrown businesses and from attracting international firms, major improvements in infrastructure and increased provision of housing of all types will be required.

“We believe that the Combined Authority and local authorities need to work together to build the strong case for more powers and funding to be devolved to the local level, in order to improve the economy while improving the quality of life right across the area.”

The Commission also noted in the review that any Brexit deal should ensure the greatest possible ease for those workers needed for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough’s businesses and public services. In addition, facilitating trade in goods and services is a high priority.

The priority now is to ensure that the report’s 14 key recommendations and further 13 subsidiary recommendations are taken forward - by the Combined Authority (and constituent councils), by businesses, and by central Government. The CPIEC will continue to engage as required to ensure Cambridgeshire and Peterborough can fulfil its vision to be the leading place in the world to live, learn and work.

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