READING LSP[14 NOVEMBER 2005]
"The Reading Economy
Reading is set at the heart of the Thames Valley,
one of Europe's premier business locations. It attracts investment
from across the world, creating a dynamic community that offers
unrivalled commercial opportunities, primarily due to its strategic
location at the heart of the UK's transport networks, including
its proximity to Heathrow and London, the availability of a highly
skilled labour force, its high quality business base and the excellent
quality of life on offer.
The sub-region's thriving business centres are
home to the European headquarters of 10 of the top 50 global organisations.
Among the industry leaders already sharing in the Thames Valley's
success, 13 are in the world's top 30 billion dollar brands. Reading
is home to some of the world's most recognisable names, such as
MCI, Cisco, Prudential and HP.
The Thames Valley economy has been the fastest
growing in the UK since 1999 and is set to continue with a predicted
growth between 2.7% and 4% per annumwhich if achieved is
estimated to be the highest in the European Union.
The Thames Valley is recognized as a key driver
of the regional and national economy with Reading as its principal
commercial and cultural hub. Significant investment in the infrastructure
is a key priority for Reading if it is to continue to be a focus
for regional growth, in particular Improvement to the strategic
transport network, such as the upgrading of Reading Station.
The future success of the Thames Valley will
depend on major urban areas like Greater Reading being able to
deliver economic prosperity in the long-term. The accompanying
infrastructure including housing, to sustain this prosperity cannot
be physically accommodated entirely within Reading's current administrative
boundaries and must be planned and delivered more strategically.
The emerging interest in city region model therefore
has real resonance for the development of the interrelationship
between Reading and the Thames Valley relationship which could
provide a framework for addressing the long term sustainable economic
growth of the sub region."