Earlier today (13 March) - as part of the Chancellor of the Exchequer's spring statement - a ‘joint declaration’ between government and local partners (including OxLEP) was announced with regards to the Oxford-Cambridge Arc.
The declaration outlines an ‘agreed way of working’ as well as several next steps. It also provides an update on the government’s overarching ambition for the Arc.
Currently, the Oxford-Cambridge Arc contributes over £107billion GVA to the UK economy.
Cllr Barry Wood, the Chair of the Arc Leaders Group, OxLEP Board member and Leader of Cherwell District Council said: "As Chair of the Arc Leaders Group - representing local authorities and Local Enterprise Partnerships across the Oxford to Cambridge Arc - I welcome the Government’s continued recognition of the importance of this part of the UK.
"Most significantly, I welcome the commitment to work with local authorities, enterprise partnerships and communities to not only promote the Arc’s great potential, but to ensure existing and future residents see the benefits ahead of and alongside growth.
"This opportunity is about so much more than housing numbers and represents a real opportunity for Government to work from the bottom up, to define and deliver this vital economic and innovation engine of the UK – but doing so in a way that is not in spite of the people but indeed for them and including them.
"There will be concern about impact on communities and strain on the infrastructure which we already feel needs investment and the need to protect valuable heritage assets and to enhance biodiversity; however, we feel that by working with Government, we stand the best chance of delivering sustainable and positive growth and that we can make places we are proud to live, work and learn in.
"We look forward to even greater clarity on the investment we can secure to help us plan for and facilitate future planned growth, and to enable closer working with business, the great universities of the Arc, the vital health and education sectors and most importantly our residents."
Further Oxfordshire-related announcements from the spring statement include:
- Harwell Campus – £81 million to be allocated to a national Extreme Photonics Application Centre – this centre will help researchers and industry better understand the composition of new materials and how they behave in different conditions
- Culham Centre for Fusion Energy – £60 million to be set aside for the Joint European Torus (JET - pictured above), confirming funding is guaranteed for the facility over 2019/20