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England’s Economic Heartland calls for ministerial task force

3125380 eastwestrail

Political and business leaders group England’s Economic Heartland (EEH) has called on the government to establish a ministerial task force to take charge of delivering infrastructure projects in the region spanning Swindon and Cambridge.

In a letter seen by New Civil Engineer, EEH has called on exchequer secretary to the Treasury  Robert Jenrick to establish a task force “to develop a ‘grand bargain’ for the growth corridor” before the spending review next spring.

Earlier his month, EEH launched its Call for Action, urging the government to commit to six infrastructure projects across the region.

Making funds available to deliver high capacity fibre/5G telecommunications along the East West Rail line is among the priorities identified, as is resolving a conflict surrounding a level crossing in Bicester.

The group has also urged government to “commit to using the delivery of East West Rail and High Speed 2 as the opportunity to introduce a new north-south passenger service connecting Northampton, Milton Keynes, Aylesbury, High Wycombe and Old Oak Common”.

Delivering Cambridge South Station within three years as well as a commitment to investing in the A1(M) corridor and the delayed A428 Black Cat to Caxton Gibbet road scheme are also identified as priorities.

In its letter to Jenrick, EEH states: “We propose that the way to inject pace is to establish a ministerial ‘task force’: led by yourself or a similarly senior colleague.

“The taskforce would comprise a small group of the leading political and business leaders from across the Heartland, including the chairman of England’s Economic Heartland, the chairman of the cross-corridor leaders’ group, the elected mayor of the Greater Cambridge and Peterborough Combined Authority, and a local enterprise partnership chairman.

“The ‘task force’ should be time limited and focused on how to use the shared ambition set out in the Joint Vision statement as a building block to develop a ‘grand bargain’ that could subsequently inform the 2019 Spending Review.” 

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