Priorities for Reading UK in 2019/20

The Board of Reading UK chaired by Adam Jacobs met in April and set its priorities for the year ahead. At the heart of our work agenda will be championing Reading’s core strengths and maximising opportunities to build Reading’s reputation and attract talent and investment, while continuing to address barriers to growth.

We will be celebrating our digital tech sector by hosting a major UK digital conference and opening a digital skills training centre in the town centre. A vibrant arts and cultural sector attracts creativity. We will be raising the profile of Reading as a cultural destination through our third Reading on Thames Festival, the Reading Cultural Awards, the launch of a new listings platform and developing our tourism offer through the vehicle of the Great West Way in the UK, US, Germany and Holland.

Thirteen years of continuous investment through the BID has brought real benefits to Reading town centre. An annual £1 million investment in the two new business improvement districts (2019-24), in partnership with business, will ensure the town centre remains a great place to live, work, visit and do business. They success of Reading’s vibrant town centre is not without its challenges, not least congestion, anti- social behaviour and the condition of the public realm. We will be raising the debate over the future of the town centre, linking key new developments and repurposing areas, taking account of the greater number of people living in the town centre and demand for more events and experiences, in addition to the retail and hospitality offer.

Ensuring Reading has the skills to support business growth remains a challenge – we will continue to roll out jobs matching, skills training, careers advice and small business start-up and growth programmes for local people.

Reading’s growing international profile, coupled with our ambitious 2050 Vision, provides real opportunities to raise profile. We will be building on existing marketing to promote Reading as a great place to do business, work or live, taking the 2050 Vision to the next level -  adding its purpose to all we do and raising the level of leadership and drive behind key  activities.

As ever, it is important for Reading UK to engage with key policy developments such as the completion of the Reading Local Plan, the Reading Housing Strategy, the Berkshire Local Industrial Strategy, decisions and timescales on the Western Rail link to Heathrow, Heathrow expansion and Crossrail.

Our mission ‘to grow business and improve the visitor welcome in a way that improves the quality of life of all in the Reading region’ will underpin our work. The Board of Reading UK look forward to working with you over the next 12 months and to welcoming you to our next Reading Economic Forum in November.

Adam Jacobs, Chair Reading UK




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