The Thames Valley has long been a technology hub and a proven location for both established global brands and innovative start-ups to grow. This is strongly reflected in the sustained numbers of foreign-owned companies choosing the sub-region as their investment destination. Together with a unique breadth and depth of indigenous, UK-owned firms, an outstanding cluster has formed, known as the UK’s Silicon Valley. The most recent Tech Nation report (2017) states: “Located at the heart of the UK’s traditional enterprise and science tech belt, Berkshire has a strong history in digital technology.” Reading, an affluent Berkshire town, has appeared in the top-10 of fDi’s Digital Economies of the Future 2018/19.
The strength of the wider Thames Valley’s ITEC economy is also an important factor behind the region’s strong productivity and Gross Added Value (GVA) performance. In 2015, Thames Valley Berkshire LEP cited the highest productivity levels (27% above the UK average) outside of London. At 16% and 8% above the UK average, respectively, Buckinghamshire Thames Valley (4th) and Oxfordshire (6th) are among the highest performing LEP areas. The Thames Valley economy ranks consistently as one of the highest performing sub-regions in the UK. With a combined GVA per head (in 2015) of £83,838m, it is bigger than that of 11 of the EU’s 28 member states.
All the benefits without the costs – with access into the capital becoming even quicker and more efficient, and commercial property space, in some instances, up to half the price of Central London, the Thames Valley has always been viewed as a great location and a viable alternative to London.