The Government has reaffirmed its commitment to building the East West rail link.

It is part of a new £650million funding package for the UK’s life sciences sector.

Money will also go towards the rail project connecting Oxford and Cambridge.

The Government said that the new railway funding was a sign of its “ongoing commitment” to the East-West Rail line project between the two university cities of Oxford and Cambridge.

Transport Secretary Mark Harper said: “The cities of Oxford and Cambridge are renowned across the globe for their academic excellence – East West Rail will be vital in allowing them to thrive for generations to come and help to grow the economy,”

“With the potential to unlock £103bn of growth through new homes, businesses and job opportunities, this crucial line will also serve as a catalyst for development in one of Europe’s most vibrant local economies while making travel quicker, cheaper and easier across the region."

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Announced by Chancellor Jeremy Hunt, the life sciences “war chest” is the latest Government effort to follow up on the Prime Minister’s pledge to turn the UK into a “science superpower”.

Dubbed the “Life Sci for Growth” package, it will see up to £250 million committed to incentivising pension schemes to invest in “promising” science and technology companies.

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Nearly £50 million has also been pledged to scientific efforts to prepare for future health emergencies while £154 million will go towards increasing the capacity of the UK’s biological data bank.

Mr Hunt, who met with company bosses and industry figures at the UK’s Life Science Council on Thursday, hailed the sector as one of the UK’s most successful.

“Our Life Sciences sector employs over 280,000 people, makes £94billion for the UK each year and produced the world’s first Covid vaccine.

“These are businesses that are growing our economy while having much wider benefits for our health – and this multi-million pound investment will help them go even further,” he said.

The plan will also see £121 million, made up of new and existing funding, to speed up clinical trials and improve access to real-time data.