Westminster Business Forum policy conference

Developing the Oxford-MK-Cambridge Arc economy

Collaboration, building on the region’s research base and delivering the Local Industrial Strategies

Timing: Morning, Thursday, 12th September 2019

Venue: Central London

This seminar will discuss the priorities for government and local partners as they collaborate to develop the Oxford-MK-Cambridge Arc region into a world-leading economic area.

It will be bring together policymakers and stakeholders to consider the Local Industrial Strategies (LIS) for the areas that make up the Arc – Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, South East Midlands, and Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.

Delegates will also examine how the LISs will need to be brought together as part of the joint overarching economic vision for the Arc to achieve the ambitions – around productivity, place-making, connectivity and the environment – set out in the recent joint declaration between the Government and local partners.

Sessions will focus on the challenges for bringing together the distinct priorities of each constituent part of the Arc into a coherent strategy for the Arc as a whole – including the new governance and joint working arrangements to deliver the plans.

We expect discussion on skills policy that will be needed for the region to meet the aspirations of the economic vision for the Arc.

Attendees will also consider how to maximise the benefits of the significant infrastructure developments planned for the region, including East-West Rail, the Oxford-MK-Cambridge Expressway and the roll-out of both fibre broadband and 5G.

Further sessions will discuss how to improve collaboration between universities and businesses across the Arc.

Delegates will assess the challenges for 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.

We also expect discussion on the support available for SMEs in the supply chain to scale-up and increase exports.