The Greater Thames Valley (GTV) region is the UK’s most productive region outside London, outperforming the powerhouses of Greater Manchester and Greater Birmingham combined, according to a new study.
The latest figures revealing the scale of the region’s contribution showed that the Greater Thames Valley delivered £144,939 million Gross Value Added (GVA) in 2015/2016, compared to the combined GVA figure for Greater Birmingham and Solihull and Greater Manchester of £99,176 million.
The Greater Thames Valley and Birmingham & Solihull and Greater Manchester combined have comparable working age populations of 3,023,100 people and 3,028,100 people respectively.
The figures are revealed in a Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEP) report into Gross Value Added (GVA), a measure of an area's contribution to the UK economy based on the value of the goods and services it produces per year.
The Greater Thames Valley is made up of the Thames Valley Berkshire, Enterprise M3, Buckinghamshire Thames Valley, Solent, and Oxfordshire LEP areas.
Productivity drivers that mark the wider region out as an economic growth hub include a highly-skilled, educated workforce - some 1.3m people in the Greater Thames Valley are qualified to Level 4 or above, compared to 990,000 in Greater Manchester and Greater Birmingham combined.
Businesses based there also benefit from international and local connectivity, outstanding education and research assets, quality housing stock, and high-growth economic hubs.
Key developments across the region include investment in new specialist office, laboratory and technical space, at locations like the Thames Valley Science Park and Harwell Science Park.
Tim Smith MBE, chief executive of the Berkshire Thames Valley LEP, which sits at the core of the Greater Thames Valley, said: “These results emphasise the importance of the Greater Thames Valley as an economic powerhouse, which has a significant impact on the health of the UK economy and punches above its weight when it comes to productivity.
The Greater Thames Valley’s digital sector is also playing a key role in supporting growth across the region. A recent Tech Nation 2016 report into the impact that the digital sector was having on the wider UK economy showed that productivity in the digital economy significantly outperforms other parts of the economy.
According to the report, employees within digital tech industries were found to be 90% more productive than workers in the economy overall – results which are borne out in the Greater Thames Valley, where the digital sector is helping to power the region’s economy forward.
Mr. Smith added: “Berkshire, at the heart of the Greater Thames Valley, is enjoying a step change in the growth and appeal of its dynamic property market. Several landmark town centre regeneration schemes are now coming to fruition in Reading, Bracknell, Slough, Wokingham and Maidenhead, while at the same time, the University of Reading has begun the construction of its new (Thames Valley) Science Park adjacent to Junction 11 of the M4.
"Together, these developments continue to support a vibrant economy that does much to generate economic growth, nationally.”