Reading UK launches a COVID-19 economic recovery strategy to shape Reading’s future

Blue on white no border RReading UK has launched a new economic recovery and renewal strategy, Powered by People, on behalf of the private sector and local authority partnership it represents. In response to the Coronavirus pandemic and its effect on the local economy, Reading’s economic recovery strategy prioritises support for local people to get back into work with new digital and green economy skills, investment in sustainable infrastructure and businesses, the recovery of our town centre and the attraction of business and visitors moving Reading to a successful and acceptable ‘new normal’.

The ‘Powered by People’ Strategy aims to build back an economy that is more inclusive, smarter and more sustainable, and to continue to raise the profile of Reading as a great place to live, work, visit and do business. Together with its delivery partners, Reading UK aims to help generate a positive economic response to the Coronavirus pandemic, helping to ensure Reading’s economy can bounce back as quickly as possible. It aims to achieve this by focusing on three main priorities:

  • Inclusive Reading
    Employment, skills and training for local people.
  • Smart Reading
    A successful, resilient economy, businesses and city centre fit for the future.
  • Destination Reading
    A great place to work, live, visit and do business.

Reading UK, along with its board of directors (featuring leading figures from property, retail, education, transport and media organisations, as well as the local authority), has consulted the business community in the development of Reading’s economic recovery strategy and will continue to do so to co-ordinate work in the recovery phase. It has also been endorsed by Reading Borough Council through its Policy Committee, and the Council will be a key partner in its delivery.  

The title of the strategy, ‘Powered by People’, conveys the underlying belief that the road to recovery is through the people of Reading: they are at the heart of business decision making and recovery; they are the innovators, creators and entrepreneurs; they are our young people, the people who have cared for the community during the worst of the pandemic; and they are the labour force that will support a sustainable economic recovery.

Business Chair of Reading UK, Adam Jacobs comments: "As part of its longstanding mission boosting business and enhancing visitor perceptions, not-for-profit Reading UK has been at the forefront of economic development and promotion of Reading as a place, led by its board. It has served the town well for over 10 years, making a real difference in our community and is therefore well placed now to bring together private and the public sectors to steer a path through the recovery phase into a new era of economic success, one that is both technology-driven and environmentally sustainable. Our Reading 2050 Vision is our guiding light and while Government support is always welcome, we mustn’t wait to start addressing the challenges we face locally. I call on all businesses in the greater Reading area to support this strategy and help us to deliver it.”

Samantha Foley, Reading UK board member and Chief Financial Officer at the University of Reading commented: “As a major business committed to Reading, we are fully supportive of the recovery strategy. With our world-class research, superb prospects for our science and innovation park, business support services and the hosting of some 20,000 students from all around the world every year, it is important that we set standards as an inclusive, smart and welcoming town; one that continues to attract a diverse audience of learners, businesses and visitors, and creates prosperity that our residents can all share.” 

Councillor Jason Brock, Vice Chair of Reading UK and Leader of Reading Borough Council commented: “The Council welcomes this single strategy for the town that both the public and private sectors can rally around and support. I’m confident that our economy will bounce back quickly, based on the strength of Reading’s economic structure; our innovative and entrepreneurial economy, research-led University, highly skilled workforce, global connectivity and trade links.

“I still believe we will be an attractive location for new businesses, investors and developers, however I am keen that we build back better, growing our economy above and beyond its former levels in a way that is more inclusive of local people, using greener technology and rebuilding our arts, heritage and cultural strengths into a repurposed town centre.”

As part of its launch, Reading UK has developed a new Recovery Hub which contains more information on the strategy’s priorities, as well as a short introductory video and a new virtual roundtable series which engages local leaders in topical debates around the strategy’s themes. For more information and to get involved in the recovery strategy, visit   


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