Swindon is predicted to experience economic growth of almost a third over the next decade, maintaining its status as a key national business hub. The British Living Survey compiled by property firm CBRE predicts that Swindon will enjoy economic growth as high as 30% in the period up to 2026.
The British Living Survey presents a national snapshot of the state of the British economy, but its findings for Swindon will reassure those who feared the town may be losing its competitive edge following the slightly downbeat predictions at the start of the year.
The survey takes account of various key indicators including house prices, wages and employment. But, given the diverse and technically advanced nature of the private sector industries based around the town, Swindon appears to be well insulated against any potential economic downturn, and – correspondingly – is equally well placed to benefit from ongoing developments in technological and communication technologies.
Driver for Growth
It is the high tech, high value jobs that are expected to be the driver of future growth. Swindon’s location on the eastern edge of the South West’s silicon design cluster means that as digital technologies become an ever more prominent (and profitable) aspect of contemporary business Swindon’s economy will continue to enjoy the virtuous cycle of high level job creation and high wage earners.
The potential for growth in the digital sector has been underlined recently by a historical overview of the UK’s technology industry since the turn of the century. The Hiscox Tech Track 100 infographic, which has been valuing the size of the sector since 2001, reveals the extent of economic activity generated by the advent and commercial exploitation of new technologies. In 2001 the aggregated level of the top 100 tech companies in the UK was a not-inconsiderable £414 million. In 2015 that figure has grown to a staggering £2.4 billion.
The development of IT solutions in banking, engineering and communication sectors – to name just three that have a heavy presence in Swindon – have led to unprecedented levels of growth in the tech sector, and all the signs are that such growth is set to continue for the foreseeable future.
The announcement of a £11 million government subsidy for Advanced Plasma Plant (APP) for the UK’s first green waste management facility in September was precisely the sort of innovative and business minded development that is set to keep Swindon at the forefront of the digital revolution. The plant will convert household waste into fuel for up to 75 HGVs at any one time.
As the Hiscox data show, the synergy between new technology solutions and green issues is a particularly strong area for economic growth. As Swindon’s population continues to increase it is precisely the APP sort of initiative that can benefit the town in terms of jobs and the green agenda as well as the obvious reputational benefit of stressing Swindon’s place at the cutting edge of business technology.