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8 January, 2018 - 08:02 By Tony Quested

Power play launched to unlock the economic potential of Cambridgeshire

A high powered brains trust of entrepreneurs, company bosses, economists and academics have joined forces to help unleash the maximum potential of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough economy.

The think tank was unveiled today in the form of an independent economic commission to conduct a root and branch review of the cluster. It launched with a call for evidence.

A sweeping brief charges the protagonists who are steering The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Independent Economic Review (CPIER) to consider the case for greater fiscal devolution and powers to unlock the delivery of major infrastructure – including showing how the area delivers benefits to the rest of the UK.

The commission is chaired by economist Dame Kate Barker and the vice-chair is long-term Cambridge technology entrepreneur Dr David Cleevely who was also founding director of the Centre for Science and Policy at the University of Cambridge.

Warren East, formerly CEO at superchip architect Arm in Cambridge, and now CEO at engineering giant Rolls-Royce, is another high profile member of the commission.

Professor Diane Coyle, a leading economist, former member of the Manchester Independent Economic Review and recently appointed as Bennett Professor of Public Policy at the University of Cambridge, is a leading light on the panel.

So, too, are Lord David Willetts – former Minister of State for Universities and Science – Sir David Arculus, adviser to the Government and former managing director of Emap, the media group which was headquartered in Peterborough; Dame Carol Black, Principal of Newnham College, Cambridge and adviser to the NHSE and PHE on the relationship between work and health; Matthew Bullock, Master of St Edmunds College Cambridge and who is also leading the economic research; Professor Andy Neely, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Enterprise and Business Relations at the University of Cambridge and former Head of the Institute for Manufacturing; Mark Dorsett, global HR director for Caterpillar and Professor Alan Hughes, previously director of the Centre for Business Research and Professor of Enterprise Studies at Cambridge Judge Business School.

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

Dame Barker 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.”

As part of its initial study the Commission is setting out a call for evidence to gather intelligence and research from organisations and individuals with experience and understanding in this area. 

The brief can be found at www.cpier.org.uk with details on how to submit.

• PHOTOGRAPH SHOWS: Dr David Cleevely

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