Cambridge has long been involved in a mêlée with Oxford for the title of best academic institute in the UK or even the world. Yet, whilst it may have been humbled in Sunday’s boat race, the city can now boast something else that its old foe can’t.
In a visit to Cambridge last week, deputy prime minister Nick Clegg announced the Greater Cambridge City Deal, which is expected to unlock £1bn of investments in transport and housing. Those familiar with Cambridge will know that it already lays claim to a cluster of high tech firms and state-of-the-art research facilities. It is hoped that the City Deal will ensure Cambridge remains a magnet for tech companies going forward.
As part of the deal, the government will be giving Cambridge £100m to invest in infrastructure over the next five years in a ‘Gain Share’ scheme. This means that the city stands to receive up to £500m in investment if it’s successful in using it to drive growth in the local area. Greater Cambridge will also match the government’s investment by putting in £500m of its own money.
The City Deal aims to extend the reach of the famous ‘Cambridge brand’ by bolstering links between the universities and the science and business parks. lt will also allow new broker teams to help increase apprenticeships by acting as intermediaries between training providers and businesses, as well as supporting the guidance that is given in schools and colleges to encourage young people to take up vocational careers.
“Cambridge is a key engine of growth which is known across the globe for its world class university and innovative business parks,” said Clegg. “This £1bn City Deal builds the foundations for long term growth in Cambridge for this generation and the next, building a stronger economy and doing it fairly.”
Greg Clark, minister for cities, added: “This government is resolved to devolve power to our cities and counties on an unprecedented scale. We are making a huge commitment to Cambridge and Cambridgeshire and to ensuring that the local economy here can continue to be one of the big engines of growth of the UK.”
First Brighton. Now Cambridge. We await the next City Deal with baited breath…