Peterborough and Cambridge must unite to prove their enterprise needs

LACK of support for the joint Peterborough and Cambridge Local Enterprise Partnership proposal could put central government funding for Peterborough at risk, according to a development expert.

Chris Haworth (left), partner and head of the commercial division at property company Carter Jonas, believes the perception from Westminster of Cambridgeshire as an affluent area could make it difficult to attract investment.

Writing in his first regular column for Peterborough Business, Mr Haworth said, “There is going to be much less funding available from central government – either for commercial or residential regeneration. What limited funding there might be will go to those areas that can prove the greatest need. The challenge for this county and its cities is to unite to prove that need in what is perceived from afar as an affluent area.”

Mr Haworth also warned that petty regional rivalries and ill-advised comments could also drive away investment. “The recent, rather disdainful, comments directed at Peterborough from some in Cambridge, ignore the complementary nature of the Peterborough and Cambridge markets but, more importantly, may threaten the economic vitality of the region by sending limited government funding elsewhere.”

The comments were published on the same day as a new report revealed that local people and businesses from across the east of England currently receive the second lowest levels of public spending per head in England.

The east of England also suffers from significant under spending when compared to economic need in a number of areas, according to Public Insight, a report produced by the East of England Development Agency’s Insight East team. The report provides an analysis of past and current public expenditure and employment, illustrating some of the potential impacts of public sector spending cuts.

The east of England received 9.7 per cent of total public expenditure in England in 2008/09 – lower than the region’s share of population, at 11.1 per cent. And a number of key areas have notably lower per capita investment when compared to selected measures of need, including transport; housing; health; education; and recreation, culture and religion.

Click here to read Chris Haworth’s first opinion column.