Leaders come together to support the economic ambitions of the East

7th March 2018

On 28 February leaders from across the East of England came together at a Parliamentary Reception, supported by the East of England LGA and Eastern Academic Health Science Network and hosted by the Rt Hon Matt Hancock MP.

Speaking at The East of England Parliamentary reception the Minister said the case for resources, powers and freedoms to be given to the region to drive forward growth ambitions was solid.

Addressing East of England MPs, council leaders and chief executives and representatives from business, health and education, he stated: “We have seen some great steps forward in the last few years. In my field of tech we have seen some great progress, and anyone who drives around Cambridge will recognise the incredible improvements that have been made.  This is starting to spread out and percolate into the wider region.”

He highlighted the key role of the East of England LGA as a critical piece of infrastructure in enabling leaders in the East to be able to make and win arguments at a national level.

Cllr Tom FitzPatrick, Chairman of the East of England LGA said: “This was an excellent opportunity to bring together some of the most influential leaders in a variety of different fields to agree how we can continue to build on the success of our region.

“The East already adds significant value to the UK economy. Through our combined efforts we can tackle the big strategic challenges and capitalize on our assets to strengthen the voice of the region.”

The event was used to address how leaders can come together to improve the region’s infrastructure, build much needed new homes, and look for ways to build innovation in science, technology and industry.  

The event was an opportunity to showcase the important work being carried out by the region’s leaders to collaborate with partners in the South East to harness the collective strength of the three biggest economies in England to tackle the most important economic challenges facing local authorities and government today.  It was also an opportunity to highlight a new non-statutory transport forum called Transport East, whose first meeting takes place on March 13. 

Life Sciences partners from across the East also used the event to call on the Government to support the creation of a new institution for the UK to accelerate innovation, based in the eastern region.  

Building on the government’s ambition in the Life Sciences and wider Industrial Strategy, notable figures are championing a new global accelerator for Life Sciences innovation, and highlighting the East of England as an international leader for this sector.

Patricia Hewitt, lead for the Norfolk and Waveney Sustainability and Transformation Plan, and former Secretary of State for Health, said: “The eastern region has the potential to transform the future delivery of healthcare, leading the world through innovation and cutting-edge technologies developed in its research and industry powerhouses.

“This is the right time to establish a new life sciences institute and global accelerator in the east of England to coordinate resources across the UK, and drive the delivery of the national industrial strategy. Working strategically, we can accelerate improvements to healthcare and lives around the world, with the talent and skills nurtured in this region.”

The need to address housing and infrastructure obstacles to harness the economic potential of the East of England was highlighted by Mayor James Palmer from the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority who said:

“The East of England has been instrumental in some of the greatest achievements in science and technology in the world and we are ideally placed to drive growth to strengthen the UK’s economy as the country prepares for Brexit. However, a solution to the obvious housing disparity and infrastructure obstacles we face is needed to ensure that we can continue to attract the best talent and that the people in our region can benefit from the thousands of new jobs expected to be created over the next decade, in the life sciences sector amongst others.
 
“I believe we need to consider a Land Value Cap in order to fund some of the vital projects that we need to solve these obstacles. Land Value Capture is a mechanism that has the potential, if designed in the right way, to unlock major infrastructure schemes of significant public benefit that otherwise would have a prohibitively high price tag.

“Nothing less than a revolution in the provision of transport infrastructure across the region is required to ensure these issues are resolved although likely to have a total cost in the billions. If we are bold and imaginative in our thinking, such a price tag need not be prohibitive.”

The collateral from the reception is available below:

 

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