Unlocking growth through local investment

The National Infrastructure Committee today launched Partnering for Prosperity, a report setting out how to maximise the potential of the Cambridge-Milton Keynes-Oxford arc. The report builds upon analysis delivered by CE and SQW last year.

1.8m people are currently employed in the arc, and it contributes £90 billion per year to national output; but CE’s analysis highlights the potential for future development. Through investment in housebuilding and transport infrastructure, up to 700,000 additional jobs could be created in the arc in 2050 (compared to a baseline without such intervention), and productivity of the workforce also boosted.

The potential of the arc

The area encompassed by the arc (including Cambridge, Oxford, Milton Keynes and Northampton) operates principally as largely-independent ‘wedges’, extending outwards from London on radial routes, with transport infrastructure cutting through them. There is little evidence of the area functioning as an integrated corridor.

CE’s analysis set out three scenarios for the arc; ‘business as usual’, with a continuation of existing levels of house building and all existing infrastructure commitments delivered,  ‘incremental enhancements’, with accelerated housing provision and the investment in improved transport infrastructure in Oxford and Cambridge, and ‘transformational enhancements’, with a substantially higher rate of house building and major additional transport infrastructure within and between the existing functional economic areas.

This analysis made clear the economic returns from providing further investment to the region; the NIC worked with stakeholders across the arc to develop a clear set of recommendations for government in terms of both specific infrastructure projects to be supported and how relationships between central and local government could be improved to facilitate future growth.

For more information on the work that we do on the economic impacts of infrastructure, and particularly how it can help to drive local economic growth, please contact

Adam Brown Principal Economist [email protected]