Vital for the profitability of UK plc
Cities Outlook 2016, produced by the think-tank Centre for Cities, ranks Reading second in the UK behind London for the economic contribution per worker (GVA), with an average contribution of £70,900 per person. It also ranks Reading 2nd for the number of businesses per capita and top five for average wages, skills and the dynamism of the business community.
Attractive to City, European and International investors …
At the FDI European Cities of the Future Awards this year, Reading collected six awards, including the Top 25 Overall European Business City of the Future for foreign direct investment (FDI). These bi-annual awards rank European cities of all sizes against various business criteria to assess the attractiveness of each location for future investment.
Reading-focused dealmaking, often involving FDI or City private-equity funding, is vibrant. Only last month, Mapletree Investments acquired Reading’s 79-hectare Green Park, one of Europe’s leading business parks, from Oxford Properties Group. The £563 million purchase aligns with the Mapletree’s strategy for investment in new growth opportunities that possess strong economic and property fundamentals.
… and small businesses too!
Reading is in the top 10 of the urban hub league table created by Octopus Investments, which ranks UK cities most friendly to High Growth Small Business (HGSB).
“I am doing everything I can to ensure that this culture of enterprise continues to grow and that Reading remains one of the economic powerhouses of the UK” – Rob Wilson, MP for Reading East
Current plans are for full Crossrail services on the Great Western corridor to commence in December 2019, with two London-Reading trains in each direction per hour. Reading will appear on London’s iconic tube/rail maps, formally connecting it to the City and importantly making it more accessible.
If Reading continues on its upward economic growth trend, this enhanced connectivity will be a key element in Reading’s ability to offer a strong economic alternative to London for both domestic and foreign businesses.
Reading’s past reputation as a travel bottleneck is long gone, says Witchalls: “It’s not merited at all because investment in transportation infrastructure has been exponential compared to other towns and cities in the country. We are almost off the scale of connectivity. Reading’s links are fantastic.”
In addition to motorway improvements, travellers from Reading can reach in excess of 500 direct rail stations, plus Reading is part of a trans-European network.
The University of Reading is a national and international university, but one which is proud of its local ‘town and gown’ connections. The university encompasses a wealth of academic talent, including the renowned Henley Business School, as well as research capabilities, as evidenced by the ambitious plans for Reading’s new science park at Shinfield. Nearby is the European Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting.