Following previous news that under the new coalition administration the number of apprenticeships has doubled, comes the very welcome news that Reading is seen as one of the best placed “cities” to weather current economic difficulties.
The Centre for Cities 2011 report finds that Reading has the third highest wages of the 63 major towns and cities surveyed; only 7.7% are considered ‘low skilled’ and 37.9% are ‘high skilled’, putting us in the top ten on both measures; we are third best in the country for the percentage claiming Job Seekers Allowance with just 2.2% in November 2010; Reading also has the sixth highest employment rate with 76.2%; it is estimated to be one of the least affected (per capita) by cuts to welfare benefits.
Reading is picked out by the report as being one of the five best major towns and cities with potential for further growth, along with Aberdeen, Bristol, Leeds and Milton Keynes. Whilst we certainly cannot be complacent, there is great cause for optimism in this report for the people of Reading. Add to that spending (£800m+) on Reading Station, known plans for places like Station Hill and South Reading, which will bring jobs and investment, and the future is very positive for Reading’s economy. This should ensure that we remain the key cog in the economic engine of the South East of England, which is key to the whole of the UK.