Proposals for a locally-led Partnership for the Oxford to Cambridge region have been approved by the Government.
The Secretary of State, Michael Gove, confirmed his support for the partnership, set to provide up to £2.5 million in government funding for “sustainable growth” and “environmental enhancements” in the region.
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.”
Deputy Mayor of Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority, Cllr Anna Smith said: “Collaboration and cooperation are key to unlocking the potential of Cambridge, Oxford and the communities that connect them. The pan-regional partnership is key to that work, and I am delighted that the government is recognising this.
“I welcome the funding that the government has now set aside to support this work, and hope that this is just the start of more meaningful national investment in our region. Because it is only through working together, investing in the future, and supporting our communities, that we can achieve greater sustainability, equality and growth.”
Leader of South Cambridgeshire District Council, Cllr Bridget Smith, said: “Councils are always more effective when they work together and with government to solve the big and difficult problems. The announcement of the government’s commitment to a partnership of councils, universities and the business sector from Oxford to Cambridge is very welcome as it increases the opportunities we have to work together to tackle climate change and our future economic success. There will now be a process of transition whilst the new board and independent chair are appointed.”
Councillor Richard Wenham, leader of Central Bedfordshire Council and a shadow board member, said: “We have ambitious and bold plans for Central Bedfordshire to continue to deliver jobs, growth and prosperity for our communities and residents.
“We welcome government focus to continue to work on growing the economy and the international brand to attract world-class employment and innovation opportunities to Central Bedfordshire.”
The Partnership will have a Board which oversees its work and operations. This will include representation from:
· An independent Chair
· One chair from each of the member growth boards or equivalent, plus one additional co-chair representing the central area growth board.
· One chair representing the Partnership’s programme sub-groups: currently Environment and Economy.
· One chair from each of the main constituent stakeholder groups, one representing Local Enterprise Partnerships, one representing the Arc Universities Group and, one representing England’s Economic Heartland.
· Two non-executive directors, following recruitment
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