The life-sciences industry is a jewel in the economy, it needs to sparkle


In July 2022 The Economist published an article on the growth potential of the UK life-sciences industry. It shone a spotlight on the ‘golden triangle’ between Oxford, Cambridge and London, noting constraints to growth that include a lack of housing and public transport. The article also recognised the national and global significance of investing in the area, noting that:


‘A study prepared by the Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership in 2020 found that the region between Oxford and Cambridge contributed £111bn in gross value added to the economy every year; the government reckoned that could rise to between £191bn and £274bn a year if a programme of building created new homes and linked up towns by rail and motorway.’

The full article can be read here (the article is behind a paywall, so readers will need a subscription to The Economist to read it).


EWR Co’s CEO Beth West issued a letter in response to the article, emphasising the role East West Rail can play in unlocking the area’s growth potential and supporting the UK’s economic recovery. The letter can be seen in full below:


Dear Editor


You rightly identify improved connectivity between Oxford and Cambridge as a stimulus for UK economic growth and note the planned east-west rail link (“Bio Britannia” July 23).


Today, travelling from Oxford to meet someone in Cambridge at 10am means departing at 6.48 am, changing trains twice and paying over £125 for a return ticket. The proposed East West Rail link will make this journey quicker and cheaper. It will also be a gamechanger for communities between Oxford and Cambridge; Bedford and Cambridge are only 30 miles apart, but the fastest public transport option between the two is a 90-minute bus journey. East West Rail services will shorten that journey to around 35 minutes – and importantly reduce the reliance on car ownership in the area.


This improved connectivity is the key ingredient that will make the area an amazing place to live and work. It will attract the skilled workforce that local employers are crying out for, which will in turn unlock the area’s growth potential and ignite an exciting ecosystem of business and academia that will accelerate the UK’s status as a science and technology superpower.


Local authorities between Oxford and Cambridge have been calling for better public transport links to strengthen its world-leading research hubs since the 1990s. In the 2020s, it’s time to deliver.


Yours faithfully


Beth West

CEO, East West Railway Company

More in the news…

A number of similar pieces have been published about the area’s role in catapulting the UK’s life-sciences industry to new heights, including: 


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