Two Cambridgeshire MPs, Labour’s Daniel Zeichner and Conservative Lucy Frazer joined forces to call for more powers for Cambridge and surrounding areas to govern our own affairs in the House of Commons debate on devolution.
Following last week’s successful launch of “the Case for Cambridge” written by Cambridge Ahead the MPs highlighted how Cambridge was a global city but was constrained by out-dated models of governance and rules on taxation hindering future planning and growth.
The MPs highlighted the comments of Antony Mattessich, the managing director of an American company, Mundipharma International who like many international business people had “fallen in love with Cambridge” but with creaking housing and transport infrastructure says he finds it increasingly difficult to persuade other key people to come to Cambridge.
Concluding his Common’s speech Daniel Zeichner MP said: “A thriving city such as Cambridge can be trusted to make the major investments needed for transport and housing through a tax-increment financing approach. The research shows a three-to-one return on gross value added to investment.
If that was a business deal, we would do it. Business in Cambridge and around is crying out for it. Local people, unable to afford homes to buy and increasingly unable to afford homes to rent, are crying out for it. Workers stuck every day in hopeless traffic queues around Cambridge are crying out for it. The local newspaper demands it. There is just one major obstacle: the tired old thinking in the Treasury that always says, “No, you can’t.”
That is not how entrepreneurialism works, and that is not how Cambridge works. There really ought to be enough people on the Conservative Benches who understand that, and I suspect that the Secretary of State might just be one of them. My simple request is that the Government work with us to get the Bill into a state in which it will allow the Cambridge success story to continue, for the benefit not just of Cambridge but of the whole UK economy.”