Select Committee on Office of the Deputy Prime Minister: Housing, Planning, Local Government and the Regions Written Evidence




"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 annum—which 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."

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