Private and public sector need to work together to maximise the impact of investment
KPMG has welcomed today’s publication of the National Infrastructure Commission’s (NIC) report on the Oxford - Milton Keynes – Cambridge arc, but warns that collaboration between private and public bodies will be essential to maximise the impact of investment.
The NIC has asked for Government funding of more than £1 billion to upgrade road and rail links across the South East Midlands, and sets out plans to build 1 million new homes and create 1 million new jobs throughout the region over the period to 2050.
KPMG’s Senior Partner for Milton Keynes, Ben McDonald, commented:
“My ambition is to have an advisory team in Milton Keynes that is brilliant for our people and for businesses in the area. The long-term sustainable improvements and investments announced today will continue to make Milton Keynes and the surrounding towns a fantastic place to work, but we need to work together to fully realise the latent potential in the region. We must follow Lord Adonis’ call to ‘seize the opportunity’.
“Employment levels are high, but businesses tell me that talent is not always available. As well as the promised increased housing, we need to invest in education, especially in emerging technologies and new industries, to ensure we achieve population growth by attracting high calibre people and organisations, from the UK and especially from overseas.
“Unless we harness the full power of the expertise and experience available to us, Milton Keynes could become the place that these improved transport links pass through. We can become a desirable destination, rather than a rail stop along the way.
“As a modern, largely purpose-built city, Milton Keynes itself is an ideal practical testing ground for the technologies developed across the region. It is also a prototype for the new towns promised in the Commission’s report.”
On Thursday KPMG released its report Improving UK Regional Productivity Performance, which supports McDonald’s assertion that potential is significant in the area. Upskilling the existing workforce was cited as the most significant challenge currently faced by the East Midlands region. Secondary and primary educational attainment both need to be improved, the report concluded.
The research also referenced the need to enhance rail links to the East of England, to ease road traffic congestion.
Ben McDonald added: “According to our report, the East Midlands is in the middle of the pack for productivity performance across the UK, but scores lower overall than the South East, for example, which should be considered an indication of the opportunity here, especially given the leading position companies are taking in areas such as autonomous vehicle development and other future technologies.”
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