Skip to main content

Joint statement: In response to the ‘Case for Cambridge’ in the Spring budget

07 March 2024

Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority and Cambridgeshire County Council have issued the below joint statement in response to the Chancellor’s Spring Budget announced on Wednesday 6th March 2024:

Cambridgeshire remains one of the fastest growing areas in the UK. As a net contributor to the Exchequer, if our region thrives, the whole country benefits. But we are not complacent, we support the Government’s ambition to solidify Cambridge as a global life sciences superpower.

Transport is a limiting factor to our region’s growth. We welcome the Government providing £7.2 million for the next phase of developing the Cambridge South East Transport (CSET) programme, ensuring the Cambridge Biomedical Campus is connected and accessible as it grows. We further welcome the investment of £3 million for Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust to develop their growth plans at the heart of the Campus.

Regrettably, the Chancellor’s statement did not provide us with the clarity needed as part of “The Case for Cambridge”. There is a commitment from Government to establish a Development Corporation to deliver its aims in Cambridge, and our message remains unchanged – Government should not establish another layer of bureaucracy to impose top down decision making from Whitehall. As the strategic and democratic authorities representing the region, with deep knowledge of our communities’ needs, we call upon Government for active, ongoing and full engagement with us to shape these plans and, specifically, to listen to the views of the communities we represent.

Recognising that a lot of focus is paid by Government to Cambridge, we want to also recognise and welcome the inclusion of Wisbech in the Towns Fund announcement by Government, with up to £20 million being allocated to support the necessary development and regeneration of this community. We look forward to working with our partners, locally and in Government, to maximise the benefits for Wisbech.

Dr Nik Johnson, Mayor of Cambridgeshire & Peterborough said:

“Ours is a hugely ambitious region with a proud record of success at the local, national, and global levels, and any support we can secure from government on those fronts is to be welcomed.

“We look forward to more details on how Cambridge 2040 will be delivered and will continue to press for local leadership in all aspects of this work – the city draws its enviable strength from the whole of the region, so any sustainable solution needs to be regionally owned and regionally managed.

“Transport-wise, I was pleased to see the GCP receive additional funds to unlock vital infrastructure, and hope to see similar in the near future for Ely Junction. It’s also good to hear a commitment for faster and more frequent rail services via Peterborough along the East Coast Mainline, especially as we continue to work with partners to re-develop the city’s Station Quarter into the thriving transport and enterprise hub local communities deserve."

Cllr Lucy Nethsingha, Leader of Cambridgeshire County Council said:

“Whilst we welcome the attention from Government on the potential of the Cambridge area, and in particular help with resolving the issues with water scarcity and the new transport funding, I have major reservations on their proposals for a new Development Corporation.

“The decision making landscape is already extremely complex in the Greater Cambridge area, leaving residents unsure of who is responsible for making decisions about their place. As Local Leaders we are ready to work in partnership with government to support the growth potential from our world leading life science and tech sectors, but we do not believe yet another layer of government is the right way to help with that vision.

“The new announcement of a major investment of £20 million from the towns fund for Wisbech is very good news for the people there and we will look forward to working with partners there to ensure this is spent in the most effective way to benefit the people of Wisbech.”

Cllr Elisa Meschini, Deputy Leader of Cambridgeshire County Council and Chair of the Greater Cambridge Partnership commented:

“We have been working hard with our partners to secure additional funding to deliver phase two of the Cambridge South East Transport (CSET) project which will ensure the Cambridge Biomedical Campus and local communities have the right public transport links they need. We are pleased the government agrees with us about the strategic importance of this connectivity scheme by providing £7.2 million to progress it to the next stage.”