Westminster Business Forum: Developing the Oxford-MK-Cambridge Arc Economy

Westminster Business Forum: Developing the Oxford-MK-Cambridge Arc Economy
22 September 2020
09:00 - 13:00

Implementing the economic vision, building on the region’s research base and, priorities in the wake of COVID-19.

This conference will be an opportunity for policymakers and stakeholders to examine the next steps in delivering the Economic Vision for the Oxford - MK - Cambridge Arc, and implementing and co-ordinating the region’s four Local Industrial Strategies.

There will be discussion on how to achieve the ambitions set out in the strategies around productivity, place-making, skills, connectivity and the environment - and what can learned from progress so far.

It follows Government’s commitment in the Budget earlier this year to develop a long term spatial planning framework to support planning decisions in the Arc region and the commitment to explore plans for Northstowe, a new town in Cambridgeshire.

We also expect a major focus for delegates on the day to be priorities for the Arc’s economic and social recovery from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Further areas for discussion include:

  • the four Local Industrial Strategies and a single economic vision for the Arc
  • innovation and maximising the Arc’s knowledge economy
  • the ‘Arc’ brand


The discussion in detail:

  • How to further support innovation and the ways in which the region’s universities and businesses can further contribute to the fight against the pandemic and increase collaboration
  • Promoting the Arc as a place to invest and the region’s likely impact on wider UK growth in economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic
  • The challenges for bringing together the distinct priorities of each constituent part of the Arc into a coherent strategy for the region as a whole - including the governance and joint working arrangements to deliver the plans and the recovery from COVID-19
  • Assessing the skills policy set out in the region’s industrial strategies that look to build a system that:
    • responds to local demand
    • supports businesses in the region
    • meets the aspirations of the economic vision for the Arc
  • How to maximise the benefits of the significant infrastructure developments planned for the region - including:
    • East-West rail
    • the roll-out of both fibre broadband and 5G
    • potential road projects that could support the Arc as Highways England considers the next steps following the Government’s decision to pause work on the Oxford to Cambridge expressway 
  • Further development of the Arc’s clusters - including its seven Enterprise Zones - and how to achieve the ambitions in the joint declaration to position the Arc and its research and development resources to provide a testbed for new technologies
  • The support available for SMEs in the supply chain to scale-up and increase exports amidst concern that some start-ups could be priced out of the region because of high rents and about lack of laboratory space
  • How the Government and local partners can work together to market the Arc globally, looking at:
    • broadening the established brand of the regions to attract businesses, investors, talent, and visitors
    • building on existing strengths of the region’s constituent areas
    • learning from the Northern Powerhouse and Midlands Engine concepts

Full information and guidance on how to take part will be sent to delegates before the conference.

Book online here.