Major review starts into state of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough economy

Commission chairman Dame Kate Barker.
Commission chairman Dame Kate Barker.
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An indepth review of the county’s economy is under way to help unlock millions of pounds of funding and deliver vital infrastructure projects.

An independent commission of 11 experts from business, academia and economics has been set up to carry out the review which will cost £470,000 and is being overseen by the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority.

Sir David Arculus, commission member and former chief executive of media giant EMAP.

Sir David Arculus, commission member and former chief executive of media giant EMAP.

The commission has started its work by appealing for what it calls “evidence” from business representatives and policy makers about the make-up of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough economy, its strengths, weaknesses, needs and how it benefits the nation.

Officials say the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Independent Economic Review (CPIER) is vital to ensure the growth in jobs and wealth enjoyed across the county continues.

Its findings will be viital in the creation of a distinctive brand and growth strategy for the county's economy that will underpin work to persuade government and private investors to invest more funds into Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.

The Combined Authority was set up last summer with a budget of £770 million, which was later increased by more than £80 million.

Commission member Matthew Bullock, former chief executive of the Norwich and Peterborough Building Society and currently master of St Edmund's College Cambridge.

Commission member Matthew Bullock, former chief executive of the Norwich and Peterborough Building Society and currently master of St Edmund's College Cambridge.

A commission spokesperson said: "The review will provide some clear economic analysis which will be helpful to both the Combined Authority and central government in understanding what further investment is needed in this region."

The deadline for submissions based on nine key points outlined by the commission is February 15 and the review should be completed by the summer.

The commission will be chaired by Dame Kate Barker, who is regarded as one of Britain’s foremost economists and was a member of the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee and is currently commissioner of the National Infrastructure Commission.

She is also chairman of trustees for the British Coal Staff Superannuation Fund, chairman of the Jersey Fiscal Policy Panel, and a non-executive director of Taylor Wimpey and the Yorkshire Building Society.

She said: “This area has seen strong economic growth, and to sustain that performance over coming decades we must plan now for the vital infrastructure needed.

“In addition, we will consider how the benefits of the thriving economy can be used to tackle some of the inequalities which presently exist.”

The commission includes two former Peterborough business leaders.

They are Sir David Arculus, the former managing director of media group EMAP, which owned the Peterborough Evening Telegraph until selling it to current owners Johnston Press in 1996, and Matthew Bullock, who is currently Master of St Edmunds College Cambridge, and was formerly chief executive of the Norwich and Peterborough Building Society, based in Peterborough.

The review is jointly funded by the Cambridge and Peterborough Combined Authority, the GCGP LEP and Cambridge Ahead.

Evidence should be submitted to evidence@cpier.co.uk