Mayor James Palmer meets Chancellor Philip Hammond to press for ‘significant investment’ in economic growth

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Mayor James Palmer who joined MPs from East Anglia in a meeting with

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Mayor James Palmer who joined MPs from East Anglia in a meeting with Chancellor Phil Hammond. PHOTO: Submitted - Credit: Archant

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Mayor James Palmer met with Chancellor Philip Hammond to press the case for “significant investment” in the region - including the dualling of the A47, removing the rail infrastructure bottleneck around Ely and improving the A14.

Mayor Palmer joined forces with MPs from across East Anglia to highlight key projects for economic growth ahead of preparations for the autumn budget.

The recent interim findings of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Independent Economic Review (CPIER) showed that while the economy of the Combined Authority area was performing strongly.

However, its continued growth was at “serious risk” unless significant investment was made in key areas including transport infrastructure.

Mayor Palmer said: “The East is a hugely important economic centre for the whole of the UK, and the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough area contributes £5 billion annually to the Treasury.

“Our prospects for further growth look very strong, but our recent interim CPIER report found that unless we deliver significant infrastructure improvements soon, that growth will tail off.

“With the autumn budget now just around the corner, we are keenly aware that we are in competition with other parts of the country for the attention of the Treasury.

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“Meetings like this, where politicians across East Anglia can show a united vision for improving our area and boosting its economy, give us the best chance of success.

“I feel the Chancellor was impressed with what we had to say and we are already building a very compelling case for projects like dualling the A47 and improving the rail infrastructure at Ely.”

As well as the key projects, Mayor Palmer was also to raise with the Chancellor the additional Combined Authority powers needed to help realise the other infrastructure plans for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.

He also highlighted the need for the Combined Authority to be given other powers to raise funding for key infrastructure projects.

In recent months the Combined Authority has already made significant progress on plans to dual the A47, with a technical report highlighting a strong business case for improving the road.

Mayor Palmer was joined at the meeting by Cambridgeshire MPs Steve Barclay and Lucy Frazer as well as Norfolk and Suffolk MPs Liz Truss, George Freeman, Sir Henry Bellingham, Chloe Smith and Jo Churchill, as part of the delegation.