Identified as the second-fastest growing city in the UK, and already a regional powerhouse, Reading’s forward momentum is remarkable. Road and rail connections are excellent, with access to the motorway network, Heathrow, central London and the City; and this will only improve when Crossrail arrives in 2022. Around an already thriving retail heart, our new Abbey business quarter has opened up a hidden heritage gem in the middle of Reading, and we’re committed to enhancing our cultural infrastructure. We’ve the 7th highest employment rate in the UK, the working population is the 6th most well-educated, and the average weekly salary is 18% above the national average. Extensive new housing of all tenures (including through our own housing company), and a flourishing university complete the picture for inward investors.
We’re proud that the Council, through our Team Reading approach, is driving much of this transformation.
By working together we ensure the focus remains on making real differences, so that our residents see a difference when they use our services. Recent years have seen the Council transform its financial standing. Prudent and well-informed decision-making, backed up by more resilient systems and reporting has enabled us to replenish Council reserves, enhancing our resilience in uncertain times.
We plan to deliver an ambitious capital programme to provide new school places, homes, transport infrastructure and investment. We are committed to ensuring that our growth is good growth: low carbon, sustainable and - most important of all - to the benefit of local people.
Reading Borough Council is determined to thrive as an organisation, so that it can lead the way in helping to shape Reading’s future. The Council has a long track record of being ambitious for Reading’s success, even where there are challenges. The Council is adapting and improving to meet these challenges, against a familiar backdrop of austerity and a growth in demand for services. ou can read our Corporate Plan here.
The authority is Labour controlled (30 of 46 elected members). Councillor Jason Brock (Labour) is the Leader of the Council.
Quality of life is high in Reading and it also has a high performing economy. It is one of the most diverse populations in the South East outside London with a history of strong and cohesive neighbourhoods. It has a rich, but sometimes hidden, history and heritage and a thriving arts and cultural offer.
At the same time Reading is the 4th most unequal UK city. This means certain resident groups are being left behind and not benefiting from our successful economy. There is rising demand for services to support and protect older and vulnerable people and children at risk, which has had a big impact on our budgets at a time when funding is reducing.
In 2017/18 the Council worked with partners at Reading University and businesses to develop a new Reading 2050 vision document which was launched in October following an extensive period of development and consultation by the three influential local organisations: Reading UK, Reading University and Barton Willmore. This sets out a shared view of key priorities for the future of Reading.
The partnership has also published a guide to living and working in Reading, called Move To Reading, which can be downloaded here.
The Council has endorsed this vision and, in its role as community leader, wants to work alongside other agencies and organisations to realise the vision’s ambitions. Its vision is to: