Oxford-Cambridge Arc to transform into UK’s fastest growing economic region

Oxford Cambridge Arc

An ambitious plan to unleash the vast economic and cultural potential of the Oxford-Cambridge Arc, to transform it into one of the world’s premier growth corridors and a world-leader in sustainability, has been announced today (Thursday 18 February) by Housing Minister Rt Hon Christopher Pincher.

With the right interventions and investment, local economic forecasts suggest that by 2050 the region could see economic output doubling to more than £200 billion, says the plan.

The spatial framework plan will help to create thousands of jobs, drive investment, protect and enhance the environment, and provide the infrastructure and beautiful new places needed to make the area – which spans the five counties of Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Northamptonshire, Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire – an even greater place to live and work.

The results, due to be published in 2022, will give communities a chance to shape the long-term future of their area and will help to ensure the benefits of growth are felt across the region.

The intention to establish an Arc Growth Body will also help unleash the area’s potential as a global innovation powerhouse by promoting the Arc internationally.

With the right interventions and investment, local analysis suggests that by 2050 economic output could double to over £200 billion.

To realise the full potential of local economies and the Arc as a whole, the government is also considering how further investment could create jobs, support the delivery of more homes, and support local economic growth.

Housing Minister Rt Hon Christopher Pincher MP said: “The Oxford-Cambridge Arc is already home to world-leading economic, cultural and scientific assets.

“We know for instance Cambridge’s rate of patent applications – a key indicator of innovation – is the highest in the United Kingdom, while nearby Milton Keynes is the fastest growing city in the country.

“We want to take this region to the next phase of its renaissance by unlocking its full potential and our plans will drive investment where it is needed and ensure, as growth happens, we create well-designed, inclusive and vibrant places and communities.

“The OxCam spatial framework will allow us to plan positively for growth and we look forward to working with our local partners over the coming months to strengthen our vision and approach to the Arc.”

Councillor Barry Wood, Chair of The Arc Leaders Group and Leader Cherwell District Council said: “We welcome the continuing commitment from Government to the Oxford to Cambridge Arc through today’s announcements.

“We look forward to working together with local people and our local partners to deliver an economy that works for all, underpinned by a high-quality natural environment. This will include planning for and enabling development that is truly inclusive and sustainable which delivers real benefits for our communities and environment now and in the future.”

Government announces £760 million for delivery of Oxford-Cambridge Arc rail route


The Arc already is home to over 2 million jobs and provides a place to live for more than 3.7 million residents.

The Oxford to Cambridge (OxCam) Arc the name given to a cross-government initiative that supports planning for the future made up of the five counties of Oxfordshire, Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire. It includes:

  • 3 county councils: Oxfordshire, Northamptonshire and Cambridgeshire.
  • 17 district councils: City of Oxford, South Oxfordshire, Vale of the White Horse,  West Oxfordshire, Cherwell, Northampton, South Northamptonshire,Daventry, Wellingborough, Kettering, Corby, East Northamptonshire, City of Cambridge, South Cambridgeshire, Huntingdonshire, Fenland and East Cambridgeshire;
  • 6 unitary authorities: Buckinghamshire, Milton Keynes, Luton, Bedford, Central Bedfordshire and City of Peterborough;
  • Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority.

Oxford and Cambridge are world-leading centres of research and innovation. There are ten significant higher education institutions, including Cranfield University, with its world-leading specialisms in automotive and aerospace engineering, the Open University, and the world-leading centres of learning at the University of Oxford and University of Cambridge.s.

Cambridge’s rate of patent applications – a key indicator of innovation – is the highest in the UK, at over 12 times the national average. Milton Keynes is the fastest growing city in the country.  Work on the COVID-19 vaccine, testing and treatment in Oxford is the latest example of the Arc’s unique innovation and business environment leading efforts to tackle a global challenge.

The planned Arc Growth Body will help capitalise on the globally renowned assets of the Oxford-Cambridge Arc which can help to lead the UK’s economic recovery. It will give a clear economic leadership voice to the Arc. This announcement builds on government’s support for the region including connecting communities through East West Rail and supporting a long-term plan for sustainable growth with the spatial framework..