Lord Adonis: 'Groundbreaking' deal could deliver millions of homes and jobs by 2050

The chairman of the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) Lord Adonis has made an urgent plea to local leaders stretching from Oxford to Cambridge to “seize the opportunity” and harness the economic potential to add hundreds of billions of pounds to the national economy.

Adonis believes the 'groundbreaking' deal between Whitehall and local leaders could lead to the first new towns in the UK for half a century. If council leaders across the arc covering Oxford, Milton Keynes, Bedford, Northampton and Cambridge worked together and delivered improved infrastructure then the potential to supply one million new homes and jobs by 2050 is a real possibility, according to the NIC chairman.

Adonis said: “A groundbreaking deal between ministers and local leaders could transform the area, helping to double the rate of housebuilding and deliver the first new towns this country has seen for half a century. With this one of the most economically important parts of the UK, it could add billions of pounds a year to the national economy.

Currently the area is said to generate £90bn per year towards the national economy but if the ministers and leaders integrated and took advantage of where many of the UK's leading technology jobs are then this could increase to over £250bn a year – an increase of over £160bn a year. 

Adonis added: “I urge local leaders to seize this opportunity and work together with government, both for the benefit of their residents and of the country as a whole – all by delivering a million new homes and jobs by 2050, investing in improved road and rail links and protecting the area’s natural environment.”

In its latest report to be published today, the NIC highlights the opportunities to create well-designed, well-connected new communities, and deliver one million new homes and jobs in the area by 2050. But to bring this to fruition, the commission mentions key transport projects that need to be given new momentum by the government like the new east-west rail line connecting Oxford and Cambridge.

Commenting on the report, the mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, James Palmer, said “By harnessing the potential of the Cambridge – Milton Keynes – Oxford arc we can deliver the new infrastructure, house building and jobs that the country and the people of our region need, and subsequently, adding billions of pounds to the local and national economy. “

Chair of the Oxfordshire Growth Board and leader of Oxford City Council, Bob Price, said: 'We will work closely with colleagues across the arc to ensure the growth is properly planned, is sustainable and works in the interests of existing and well as future residents.”

The Partnering for prosperity: a new deal for the Cambridge – Milton Keynes – Oxford Arc report can be found here.

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