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Government backs new Oxford to Cambridge Pan Regional Partnership

20 January 2023

  • Secretary of State Rt Hon Michael Gove MP confirms support for the establishment of an Oxford to Cambridge Pan Regional Partnership.
  • The endorsement follows a proposal submitted to government by leaders from local councils, local enterprise partnerships, the Arc Universities Group and the area’s transport body, England’s Economic Heartland.
  • Backing for the pan-regional partnership unlocks access to up to £2.5million government funding for the Partnership to support its priorities in delivering sustainable growth and environmental enhancements for the region.

Proposals for a locally-led Partnership for the Oxford to Cambridge region has been given the green light by government.

The Partnership’s role will be to champion the region as a world leader of innovation and business, acting to achieve environmentally sustainable and inclusive growth. It will strengthen cross-boundary collaboration among its partners to focus on tackling the issues that matter to the people who live and work in the region.

The Partnership’s initial programme is to:
• develop a set of propositions to attract international investment and profile the region on a global stage; and
• continue the work underway to embed shared Environment Principles.

Following the official commitment from government, the Partnership will begin active recruitment of an independent Chair. In the interim, a Shadow Board has been set up to oversee the Partnership’s programme and agree governance and funding.

Chair of the Shadow Board, Cllr Barry Wood said, “We believe that by working together the whole Oxford to Cambridge region can be greater than the sum of its parts. With official status as a Pan-Regional Partnership backed by government, we can unlock potential and further strengthen our area’s position as a hub of innovation; a globally recognised region of science and technology that delivers prosperity for our communities.

“It will enable us to better achieve inclusive and sustainable outcomes for residents, business and the environment.”

Peter Horrocks CBE, SEMLEP's Chair and representative on the Partnership's Shadow Board said, "Clear-cut government support for our local vision for the Oxford Cambridge area is a major milestone. By developing ambition for the economy and environment in tandem this region can help lead the UK in environmentally sustainable economic growth. For the vibrant and beautiful area between Oxford and Cambridge this represents a golden chance to create investment in an improved economy and enhanced environment that benefits all."


The Shadow Board members are:

• Cllr Barry Wood, Leader Cherwell District Council sitting as Interim Chair of the Board
• Cllr Susan Brown, Leader of Oxford City Council representing the Future Oxfordshire Partnership
• Cllr Pete Marland, Leader of Milton Keynes City Council representing the Central Area Growth Board
• Cllr Richard Wenham, Leader of Central Bedfordshire Council representing the Central Area Growth Board and Chair of England's Economic Heartland*
• Cllr Anna Smith, Leader of Cambridge City Council representing the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority
• Professor Alistair Fitt, Pro-Vice Chancellor Oxford Brookes University sitting as Chair of the Arc Universities Group
• Peter Horrocks, Chair of regional LEPs and Business Boards, and Chair of the Economy Sub-Group
• Cllr Bridget Smith, Leader South Cambridgeshire District Council, Chair of the Environment Sub-Group
• * Representative for England’s Economic Heartland is to be confirmed


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