The case for Reading

The Reading Economic Area has a strong and mature economy, with hi-tech industries
and the creative sector contributing significantly to its success. Businesses are drawn to the area by the availability of a highly-skilled workforce, access to international transport hubs (including Heathrow Airport), a high quality of life on offer and knowledge intensive business clusters.

Key business clusters
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Major employers and organisations in Reading


Air – the scale of global connectivity from Heathrow, when compared against its main European competitors, is virtually unrivalled. Reading has a 40-minute direct coach service to Heathrow and will have a direct rail link from 2021. Reading also has a direct train service to Gatwick.

Rail  -  direct rail links into London in 25 minutes; from 2019, Crossrail will link Reading with Central London, the City of London and Europe directly. The Heathrow Rail link is due in 2021. 

Road - Reading is well located on the M4. New investment is planned for the M4 along the Thames Valley.

Transport within Reading – Reading boasts the UK’s best bus operation which links the town centre with the University and business parks, a brand new ReadyBike bike hire scheme and a new pedestrian bridge over the Thames scheduled for 2015.

Skills and talent

Reading Borough is home to around 145,000 people,while the wider urban area is home to a population of around 275,000 with a broader retail catchment for Reading of over 1.2 million.

  • The 5th most qualified workforce in the UK
  • The highest UK employment rate.
  • 20% of University of Reading graduates remain in the Reading area after graduation
  • 42.6% of Reading’s population are educated to NVQ4 or above

Independent assessment of the Greater Reading economy

Read the University of Reading’s independent academic assessment of the Reading economy, based on the functional economic area of greater Reading, which includes Wokingham, Bracknell and part of West Berkshire. 

Who’s investing in Reading

  • Network Rail - £900 million in Reading railway station and local rail infrastructure

  • Topland – purchase of Reading Bridge for £35 million 

  •  Benson Elliott and Stanhope – work has started on the 1 million sq ft redevelopment of Station Hill

  • Landid and Brockton Capital - £30 million investment in Thames Tower completes in early 2017.
  • University of Reading - £50 million initial investment to develop Science and Innovation Park underway
  • Ikea –  a new store for Reading opened in 2016
  • John Lewis Partnership - £20 million recent investment in their flagship Reading store
  • Boultbee Brooks – developing 2 new office buildings in Reading town centre - White Building and Forbury WorksKings House CGI - indicative image only.JPG
  • Peter Brett Associates – redesign and refurbishment of their Reading HQ building
  • Segro – new postal distribution centre for GeoPost
  • Reading Borough Council – new civic offices and a new pedestrian bridge over the Thames

Get the Facts on Reading.



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