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Why Invest in the Thames Valley?

A Truly Unique, Truly Global Destination

The Thames Valley is the fastest-growing region in the UK, outside of London. The region encompasses companies from all over the world, covering a wide range of sectors, who are brought together in a connected business community. For this reason, the Thames Valley is considered to the be the UK’s true ‘turbo-economy’, the ‘Silicon Valley of Europe’ and therefore, the place to be.

The Thames Valley is home to….

The No. 1 University in the world

The University of Oxford has been recognised for five consecutive years as the world’s best university.

Highest Performing Cities

Oxford and Reading listed in PwC’s Good Growth for Cities Report as the highest performing cities for the fourth year in the row.

Heathrow Airport

The UK’s largest airport, handling over 80 million international passengers annually and flying to 206 worldwide destinations.

Rising GVA ahead of London

Thames Valley is expected to exceed London’s growth with 0.60% Gross Value Added (GVA) growth between 2019-2023, in fact Reading is forecast to rise ahead of London with 0.58% GVA.

Most Productive City

Slough is ranked as the most productive city in the UK, with productivity per capita rising to £100,000 per worker in the 2020 Cities Outlook Report.

Best Place to Work

Slough named the best place to work in the UK based on its ease of finding a job, relatively high average salaries in comparison to living costs, employee satisfaction and cost of housing.

With a wealth of visitor and heritage sites …

And a thriving economy…

As the fastest-growing region outside of London and a much more cost-effective alternative, the Thames Valley offers great potential for growth. It also boasts some impressive statistics:
The Thames Valley economy is worth £83,848 million, bigger than 11 of the EU’s 28 member states, including Hungary, Luxembourg and Bulgaria.
The region’s economy is expected to be larger in 2023 than 2019, with an annual GVA growth forecast of 0.39%.
Employment rates are forecast to grow (0.31%) above the South East average by 2023 in the Thames Valley.

70% of international companies setting up in the UK for the first time will locate within one hour of Heathrow Airport.

EY’s Regional Economic Forecast

The UK economy is expected to strengthen over the next year, with the Thames Valley set to be one of the strongest performing regions over the next three years, highlighting a 0.60% predicted growth in Gross Value Added (GVA), which is higher than London (0.51%) and the South East (0.39%) region as a whole.


The Regional Economic Forecast document highlights strong growth in two locations within the region by 2023, including Windsor & Maidenhead (0.68%) and Reading (0.58%) – these predicted increases in GVA will exceed those of major cities and London.

“The levelling up agenda is a key issue for the national economy … however, as a region, the South East must also address its own economic challenges and work towards a joined up regional plan which allows the region to continue to attract investment, provide opportunities for business creation and growth, and which also develops skills and retains employment.”


Richard Baker, EY, Managing Partner for the Thames Valley and South

“The report provides evidence that the Thames Valley is the UK’s true ‘turbo-region’ with an array of significant resilient sectors, including life sciences,  technology and clean tech, which will be one of the key areas of focus and opportunity for the UK’s zero carbon aspirations.”


Paul Britton, CEO of the Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce

Click on the report to find out more.

Click on the report to find out more.

PwC’s Good Growth for Cities Report

Oxford and Reading have topped the index for the past five years, reflecting consistent performance and improvement across the board of indices. This year’s ratings have shown the cities as particularly strong in income growth, jobs, skills, and health.


For the period 2017-19, our three Thames Valley Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) were placed in the top four LEPs – Buckinghamshire (1st); Oxfordshire (2nd) and Thames Valley Berkshire (4th).


The Index sets out to show there is more to life, work and general wellbeing than simply measuring GDP. It measures the performance of 42 of the UK’s largest cities, England’s LEPs and ten Combined Authorities against a basket of 10 factors which the public think are most important when it comes to economic wellbeing.

“The strong performance of both Oxford and Reading in the PwC Good Growth for Cities index follows increasing levels of available jobs, growing incomes, and a diversity of skills.”


John Ellis, PwC Reading Office Senior Partner

“The pandemic has led to people living their life much closer to home, valuing different things, and places that meet these needs will bounce back quicker.  This opens opportunities for places that have advantages in terms of liveability and community, and where ‘price of success’ factors, such as housing affordability, are less of an issue. The report sets out a series of recommendations for leaders, including taking a broad approach to economic wellbeing and building resilience that creates liveable vibrant places where people want to live, work and visit.”


Jonathan House, devolved and local government lead for PwC

fDi’s European Cities and Regions of the Future 2020/21 Report

Cities and towns from across the Thames Valley scored highly in an array of categories for the annual fDi Magazine report on Europe’s Top Cities and Regions of the Future for 2020/21. The annual list gives an overview of the best locations in terms of global Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) statistics, taking into account the regions’ and cities’ infrastructure, capabilities and incentives.

Click on the report to find out more.

Key Thames Valley rankings for 2020/21 include the following:

London was ranked as number one in the European Cities of the Future (Overall) category with Slough (15th), and Newbury (23rd) also listed in the top 25.

Three Thames Valley towns and cities were ranked in the Top 10: Northern European Cities of the Future, including Slough (5th) and Newbury (9th).

In the Small European Cities of the Future category, Slough was ranked 1st, Reading (5th) and Bracknell (10th).

Key sector strengths


The UK is a significant market opportunity for inward investors and at its heart – the Thames Valley – is one of its most important clusters of innovative, high-growth, IP-rich companies across the full range of tech sub-sectors.

Oxford listed as one of the top 20 European Investment Tech Cities


Berkshire has 600+ tech start-ups p.a.


Largest mega-cluster of data centres in Europe


More than 8,000 technology-led companies based in the region

Life Sciences

Within the Thames Valley, the Life Sciences and Healthcare (LSH) sector is one of the most important benefitting from a number of world leading academic institutions and industry centres of excellence.

Heart of the ‘Golden Trianlge‘ LSH cluster


More than 135 LSH companies based in the region, with 8,000 employees


Leading medical research institutes, 5 UK Academic Heath Science Centres


University of Oxford ranked No. 1 in Clinical, Pre-Clinical and Health (8th year)

Tech Nation Report 2020 

Oxford has been listed as one of the top 20 European investment tech cities, just after Helsinki and Dublin, with £200 million raised in 2019. The South East in more general terms has cemented its position as one of the UK’s leading tech hubs with £448 million invested in emerging tech, £281 million invested in Artificial Intelligence and 11 high-value tech scaleups, of which two are Oxford-based, ByBox and Osler Diagnostics. Digital tech now employs 2.9m people in the UK which has increased by 40% from 2017.


Read more, HERE

“The South East is home to a high number of digital tech clusters and we’re seeing all the emerging trends highlighted by the Tech Nation 2020 report happening across the region including right here in the Thames Valley which is setting itself up as an AI hub.”


Elizabeth Corse, Entrepreneur Engagement Manager – South East, Tech Nation

Life Sciences Industrial Strategy

Since the Government launched its Life Sciences Strategy in 2011, over £7.5bn of inward investment in Life Sciences has been secured; leading to the creation of 18,000 new jobs. The second Life Sciences Sector Deal was published in December 2018 and co-authored by the University of Oxford’s Regius Professor of Medicine, Sir John Bell. It sets out the second phase in implementing the Life Sciences Industrial Strategy and contains several references to the work, assets and companies across the Thames Valley.


Read more, HERE.

The Life Sciences Industrial Strategy Update was released in January 2020 detailing the progress that has been made against the priorities set out in the second Sector Deal. The update sets out a vision to deliver future growth and highlights opportunities for the UK to build on its strengths in order to remain globally competitive.


Read more, HERE.

The Thames Valley is the second engine of growth of the UK economy, outside of London and that’s for good reason – the Thames Valley is going to be the fastest-growing region through to 2020 and Reading, at the centre of the Thames Valley is going to be the fastest growing UK city for the next 5 years.


Simon Greenstreet, Head of Communications, Bayer 

Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce

The Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce works alongside the Department for International Trade, the region’s Local Enterprise Partnerships, Local Authorities and professional service providers to promote foreign direct investment into the Thames Valley.


A proven centre of excellence for International Trade and Inward Investment services, the Chamber provides practical support to help inbound and established businesses reach their potential. Find out more below.

Read more
Lambert Smith Hampton discuss how they work with DIT and TVCC to deliver their services.
Discover how the DIT and TVCC have helped G-SMATT in their international expansion journey.
James Cowper Kreston speak of the services they offer foreign-owned companies.
DIT and TVCC supported CloudFactory in establishing their UK presence in Reading – hear how.
James Cowper Kreston
Lambert Smith Hampton