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17 October, 2018 - 15:26 By Tony Quested

Cambridge-Oxford corridor will be £400bn powerhouse post-Brexit

The economic contribution of the Cambridge–Milton Keynes–Oxford Growth Corridor to the UK’s post-Brexit economy could reach £400 billion by 2050, according to new research from property consultant Bidwells.

But the potential payback hinges on the delivery of a planned Expressway Road and a re-opened Varsity Line linking the region’s economic centres to maintain the impressive growth seen in the corridor since 2013.

The £400bn forecast is predicated on the ability to maintain the pace of expansion seen in the corridor in recent years.

The corridor’s Gross Value Added (GVA) will surpass £300bn by 2050, even if the region’s growth slowed below the long-term average rates seen since 1998, Bidwells’ economic analysts predict. 

Patrick McMahon, Bidwells senior partner, said: “The growth corridor is the UK’s next economic powerhouse. This knowledge-intensive region is already big on ideas but is set to become much bigger in economic value too. 

“Bold leadership from government Ministers and a commitment to expediently delivering the Expressway and East-West Rail is essential, however, to ensure the long-term growth potential of the corridor is fully realised.” 

Bidwells’ latest growth corridor research looked at a National Infrastructure Commission-defined Growth Corridor area and the latest ONS statistics (2016) and found the corridor delivered a GVA of £105bn in 2016 and is likely to surpass £113bn by the end of 2018. The corridor has grown by an average of four per cent a year since 1998.

The NIC reported to Government in Autumn 2017 that the Growth Corridor area generated £90bn per year for the national economy but said this could surpass £250bn a year by 2050 with new investment in road and rail infrastructure, estimated by the independent advisory body in 2017 to cost £7bn.

Should growth continue at the long-term average rate of four per per cent the corridor’s GVA will reach £398bn in 2050, say Bidwells’ researchers.

Sue Foxley, Bidwells research director, said: “With one million new homes proposed for the corridor, significant infrastructure investment is required now to ensure the economy pushes to the top of our forecast.

“The Government’s Industrial Strategy puts this region at the heart of the UK economy but infrastructure investment, in the right places, must follow to facilitate this impressive rate of growth in a post-Brexit world.” 

Bidwells’ other key research findings include:-

  • The whole growth corridor area has delivered a 0.9 per cent pa higher GVA expansion when compared with the UK over the period 1998-2016
  • A high-growth ‘core area’ has delivered a long run average GVA of 4.7 per cent per annum, compared with four per cent for the corridor as a whole
  • At a future growth rate of 3.25 per cent - well below the long-term average for the corridor – the area’s GVA will reach £312bn by 2050
  • An estimated 15-20m sq ft of further office and lab space, across approximately 540 hectares of land will be needed to accommodate this projected growth.

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