Plans announced in the Budget for new homes and infrastructure in one of the most economically important parts of the country are an “important first step” to securing its future, Lord Adonis said today.

The Chairman of the National Infrastructure Commission welcomed confirmation by the Chancellor that the Government would be accepting the Commission’s recommendations for supporting the crucial Cambridge-Milton Keynes-Oxford Arc, with the overall ambition to build one million new homes in the area by 2050.

In particular, he said that today’s new deal between Ministers and Oxfordshire to deliver 100,000 new homes in the county by 2031 would pave the way towards providing what the area needs – especially as the Government will consider the development of new towns as part of this.

The Budget also included:

  • Funding to accelerate delivery of East West Rail, helping to open the connection between Oxford and Bedford, and from Aylesbury to Milton Keynes by 2024;
  • The formation of a new company to explore how to speed up progress with the East West Rail connection between Bedford and Cambridge, with the aim of opening the link in the mid-2020s;
  • A programme of work to develop plans for a new Cambridge South train station;
  • A commitment to deliver the Oxford-Cambridge Expressway by 2030, with key elements funded through the next round of the Roads Investment Strategy; and
  • The establishment of Cambridge as one of eight new Tech Nation hubs, as part of an expansion of the existing scheme

Chairman of the National Infrastructure Commission Lord Adonis said:

“The arc spanning Cambridge, Milton Keynes and Oxford is one of the most economically-important parts of the country, contributing some £90billion a year to the national economy – with investment in homes and infrastructure, our work suggests this could increase to as much as £250billion.

“I’m therefore pleased that the Chancellor today accepted our recommendations to accelerate new infrastructure, support the delivery of new homes, and begin to put in place the new deal necessary to secure this arc’s continued success.

“The deal with Oxfordshire will pave the way towards delivering the homes the area needs and the funding to accelerate delivery of the East West Rail line, combined with the commitment to the new Expressway, will also provide much-needed improvements to the local transport network.

“Our recommendations have support from leaders across the area – this is a unique opportunity to secure the future of this economically-important part of the country, and the Budget measures announced today are an important first step towards making them happen.”