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Spring Budget 2024: Jeremy Hunt confirms Cambridge development corporation plan and further AstraZeneca investment in Biomedical Campus





A multi-million pound investment by AstraZeneca to “expand their footprints” in Cambridge and confirmation of a “long-term settlement” for a future Cambridge development corporation have been announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt said the settlement for the future development corporation in Cambridge would be revealed at the next Spending Review.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt leaves 11 Downing Street for Parliament (Stefan Rousseau/PA)
Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt leaves 11 Downing Street for Parliament (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

In his budget speech today (Wednesday, 6 March) Mr Hunt said: “I am pleased to announce the next steps for Cambridge to reach its potential to be the world’s leading scientific powerhouse.

“I confirm there will be a long term funding settlement for the future development corporation in Cambridge at the next spending review, with over £10million invested in the coming year to unlock delivery of crucial local transport and health infrastructure.”

It comes after Housing Secretary Michael Gove announced in December that a development corporation would deliver upwards of 150,000 homes around the city over the next 20 years under its Cambridge 2040 plans.

Mr Gove also said the city is a “unique and special case” and its importance nationally means “a different approach is going to be required”.

Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove
Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove

Last year, the government appointed the head of Homes England Peter Freeman to lead the Cambridge Delivery Group, which was tasked with delivering the government vision for the city.

The Chancellor also announced today that AstraZeneca plans to invest £650 million in the UK to expand their footprint on the Cambridge Biomedical Campus and fund the building of a vaccine manufacturing hub in Speke in Liverpool.

“AstraZeneca made their Covid vaccine available to developing countries at cost, as a result saving over six million lives. And today, because of the government support for the life sciences sector, they announced plans to invest 650 million pounds in the UK to expand their footprints on the Cambridge Biomedical Campus and for the building of a vaccine manufacturing hub in Speke in Liverpool.”

He went on to say: “In addition, £10.2 million is being invested to support the development of the Cambridge Biomedical Campus, Europe’s leading centre for medical research and health science. £7.2 million of this will unlock improvements to local transport connections for the Cambridge Biomedical Campus and the city, and £3 million is for Cambridge University NHS Trust to support plans for growth."

Elsewhere, Mr Hunt used the Budget to announce national insurance tax cuts, ahead of an expected general election later this year.

AstraZeneca's Discovery Centre on Cambridge Biomedical Campus. Picture: AstraZeneca
AstraZeneca's Discovery Centre on Cambridge Biomedical Campus. Picture: AstraZeneca

The Chancellor’s March statement to the Commons is his prime opportunity to set out the Government’s tax and spend plans.

Mr Hunt’s headline announcement was a 2p cut to national insurance, matching a reduction announced in the autumn statement, alongside a series of measures to help hard-up households with the cost of living.

The Chancellor’s financial package is billed as a “Budget for long-term growth”, but is set against the backdrop of the UK’s struggling economy, which slipped into a technical recession at the end of 2023.

Responding, Mike Derbyshire, the head of planning at Cambridge-based life sciences property consultancy Bidwells, said: “We are glad the government recognises the strategic importance of Cambridge’s life sciences industry to propel economic growth in the country at large.

“AstraZeneca’s £650m investment is evidence of this potential, but it can still deliver so much more in terms of both economic growth and health outcomes. The establishment of a development corporation will hopefully deliver a framework through which this can be fully realised.

“This will depend, however, on the government's conviction in regard to its investment in transport infrastructure, its willingness to streamline the planning system to boost lab space availability, and sufficient investment in housing and infrastructure more generally. If these issues are addressed, then investment will flow into the sector on its own accord.”

To see more planning applications and other public notices for your area, visit publicnoticeportal.uk.



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