1. ITV Report

MP: East Anglia could be California of Europe

San Francisco at heart of California's tech industry Photo: PA

A Norfolk MP says East Anglia could become the California of Europe - thanks to its wealth of technology and science-based businesses.

Mid Norfolk MP George Freeman said the region boasted a number of world-class technology clusters such as Silicon Fen in Cambridge and biomedical centres in Norfolk.

But the MP the Government was not doing enough to help improve the region's infrastructure and help it grow.

Norfolk Broads: MP says London views East Anglia as 'rural backwater' Credit: PA

"For too long Norfolk and Suffolk have been neglected by London governments as rural backwaters... We will never build a 21st century economy with 19th century infrastructure."

The Tory MP is to chair a major conference on the future of the East Anglian regional economy on Monday.

Commenting in advance of the conference, Mr Freeman said:

Our region is blessed with world-class research institutes and businesses. In the clusters of innovation at Cambridge, Norwich and Ipswich this region is rapidly becoming a world-class hub of innovation lead growth. With improved communications and infrastructure, to link the biomedical, agricultural, environmental and digital centres of innovation – we can put this region at the forefront of some of the most exciting innovations, markets and businesses in the global economy.

We have seen in Cambridge that world-class research drives new companies and jobs, by expanding that we can become the California of Europe

– George Freeman

The conference takes place at Wherstead Park, Suffolk on Monday