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Page last updated at 16:50 GMT, Wednesday, 27 January 2010
Reading to recover from recession
Emma Midgley
BBC Berkshire

People queueing outside a job centre
Unemployment has fallen

Reading is one of just five places in the UK which has the right ingredients to succeed as the recession ends.

And unemployment has fallen for the first time in nearly two years.

The number of people out of work in the three months to November dropped by seven thousand, to 2.46 million people.

But the unemployed are still finding it hard to get a job.

John Hayllor, aged 26, of Oxford Road in Reading lost his job two weeks ago.

The former pub worker says he believes there are signs of recession lifting.

"57 pubs a week were closing, now it's 52 a week which shows that five are surviving. It shows that more people are earning the money to go back out there.

"On the jobs front they are becoming available, which they weren't before."

Sean Long, a 20-year-old from Shinfield Road in Reading was made redundant six months ago. He is joining the army as he says there are no jobs.

Nadreen Welch, aged 21, of Coley Park in Reading is doing a Travel and Tourism training course to try and improve her customer services skills and help get her work.

"It's taking time, but we will get there," she says. "Most employers are looking for experienced people but if they actually do train people I think we will come out of recession."

Many youngsters are fed up of not being able to find work.

Shannel Maryle, aged 26, of Coley Park in Reading lost her job before Christmas, finding it hard to get back into finding any kind of telesales work.

Paul Nolan, aged 23, of Bourne Road in Pangbourne says: "It's getting busier in the job centre everyday. I've been looking for six months but every time you ring up, there are so many people looking for jobs, there is no chance really.

An independent national think-tank, Centres for Cities, has ranked the economic performance of 64 of the UK's largest cities and towns and it looks like Reading is set for success.

Reading Borough Council Leader Jo Lovelock said: "Reading's success as the Regional Capital continues despite the recession.

"It would not have happened if we had not created the vision involving partners from businesses, the public sector and the local community.

"While we know that Reading is well placed to come out of the recession, we have always recognised that there are individuals and organisations that have been affected and we will also be working to ensure that those people benefit from the overall success of Reading's prosperity."

But despite Reading still being in a recession, Reading Council sees the latest study as providing the town with a positive outlook.

Michael Coughlin, Chief Executive of Reading Borough Council, said: "This is a really positive endorsement of the work that the Council has done in partnership with business, to create an attractive and successful nationally significant economy, which has in-built strength and resilience.

"We are not however complacent and know we need to develop our sub-regional work further still if we are to remain as successful as we have been to date and are forecast to be"

And Tim Smith, Executive Director of Reading UK CIC, said: "The fact that Centre for Cities measures Reading's real economy, for example an area stretching from Theale in the west to Bracknell in the east, reinforces the need for local authorities to work together.

"Reading UK CIC has created a Reading Diamond Forum, which brings together the unitary authorities and businesses of Reading, Wokingham, Bracknell Forest and West Berkshire. Sustaining the strengths of our economy cited in this report will be the key focus of the Diamond Forum."

The Centres for Cities report also named Brighton, Milton Keynes, Cambridge and Edinburgh as having the ingredients to succeed after the recession.




SEE ALSO
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21 Jan 10 |  House of Commons
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20 Jan 10 |  Today

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