A business-led organisation tasked with promoting Swindon says the town is still a great place to live and work – despite the announcement by Honda that it intends to close its plant.
Jenny Groves, chairman of Switch on to Swindon, said: "My heart goes out to those at Honda directly and indirectly affected by the announced plant closure, but let’s not lose sight of the great things that are happening in Swindon’s economy.
“Swindon has one of the most thriving and diverse economies in the UK. It boasts many large UK and global organisations, more than any other town of its size, including Nationwide which employs over 7,000 people, and has confirmed its commitment to the town.”
“People should also remember that we have a history of successfully adapting to change. For example, the closure and conversion of the Swindon Railway Works into the Designer Outlet, one of the most desirable retail destinations in the UK. Or more recently the conversion of the GWR Carriage Works into a new digital hub for the growing tech sector in Swindon.
"It’s in Swindon’s DNA to evolve and innovate to what’s happening around us, and I am therefore confident about its future.
“Within the advanced manufacturing industry we have local innovation in motion, such as Dyson developing an electric car down the road in Malmesbury and Swindon firm Powertrain producing and installing electric car batteries for a run of limited classic Minis here in Swindon.
"Also in Swindon, companies such as Dynamatic are supplying innovative components to aerospace and agriculture and Render are offering augmented and virtual reality solutions to aerospace and construction.”
“Swindon has a diverse and successful economy with a key focus on the growth of the digital-tech sector. There are over 2,800 tech and digital defined businesses in Swindon and Wiltshire and 25,000 that have tech-linked functions.
"With the UK tech sector growing 2.6 times faster than any other industry, UK demand and competition for tech talent is increasing exponentially, and Swindon’s position in this sector is sizeable.”
“We also have a promising future with big names investing in the town. SevenCapital’s exciting and substantial retail and leisure destination being built in the heart of the town will create a major regional attraction for the whole of the South of the UK and Zurich look set to be the flagship of the new multi-million pound town centre commercial and residential development.
"With new major projects like this, it’s proof of the realisation of the town’s £1 billion ambition of economic opportunity and regeneration.”
“What is also great about the conversations I’ve had so far with businesses across the town, is that they have been incredibly positive about how we can support and provide opportunities as a business community for Honda workers.
"Despite the disappointing Honda announcement, I am confident Swindon will continue to thrive. With its fantastic geographic connections, a vibrant business community and a future of exciting economic growth, it’s no wonder that Swindon has been voted one of the best places to live.”
Switch on to Swindon has an ambassador network of hundreds of business leaders who champion the town. For more information visit http://switchontoswindon.com/