Statement on the launch of the Local Industrial Strategy by Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Mayor James Palmer
We now have a strategy for our whole region, one which recognises the strengths and challenges of our sub-economies: the Fens, Greater Peterborough and Greater Cambridge all need different support so this is a joined-up masterplan that works across the board, for people and enterprises alike.
Where businesses thrive people can flourish. This plan charts how we can build on strengths and remove barriers to boost productivity and ensure the economy is fit for tomorrow’s world. It supports the aims of the National Industrial Strategy and suggests interventions and tweaks on the rudder carefully designed to maximise growth in all our areas.
The plan is based on CPIER, the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Independent Economic Review, an exhaustive audit of our economy chaired by a panel of experienced experts. This review set out a series of key recommendations to help us shape the future, many of which have been developed in this new strategy. CPIER made the point that our area isn’t one big economy but really three sub-economies with different strengths and different needs which must be addressed with tailored solutions.
The Fens is a chiefly rural area with a wide range of market towns, much of the most fertile farmland in the UK, and world-class agriculture. But it isn’t solely a rural economy and Britain’s ‘veg box’, it’s also home to brilliant niche manufacturing and service companies who need support in what they want to achieve.
In the north, Greater Peterborough is massively important both as our own largest city and one of the fastest growing in the whole country. It has a proud manufacturing history and also attracts a burgeoning range of service, financial and professional firms. With the new 38 minute rail connection to London, Peterborough also expects to entice government and corporate relocations out of the capital.
And we’ve got Greater Cambridge, characterised by high levels of output and skills, a mix of biomedical, pharmaceutical, artificial intelligence and other technology businesses, all underpinned by two universities in an environment which has fostered a dynamic, innovative and pioneering enterprise culture.
This Local Industrial Strategy takes up the challenge of identifying specific support for businesses in each of these areas, tailoring and targeting interventions to their unique needs. It’s about responding to the big issues of 21st century life. And it’s about putting people first – improving education and training levels to ensure business has the supply of skills it needs, and our people are equipped with more and better opportunities to fulfil their potential, not least the digital skills that will unlock thousands of jobs in a fast-evolving sector.
By supporting our economy with better infrastructure and joined-up transport links, by delivering the skills our workforce needs to secure good quality and higher-paying jobs, this strategy will boost productivity and output, and drive the whole of Cambridgeshire & Peterborough forward.