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08:44 on Wednesday
7 March 2001

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Positively Peterborough

Peterborough benefits from high technology jobs growth


Almost 250 high technology jobs have been created in Peterborough over the past two years as companies reap the benefits of the area's lower business costs and excellent transport connections, says Gloria Milne, chief executive of Greater Peterborough Investment Agency (GPIA).

According to a comprehensive report produced by Cambridgeshire County Council's research group, the Peterborough area has just over 3,100 people working in high technology businesses - 7.6 per cent of the county total. In the past two years (1997 to 1999) there were 250 new high-tech jobs created in Peterborough, an increase of almost nine per cent.

"While the level of high technology employment in Peterborough is very small compared with Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire, this report does reveal that Peterborough has considerable scope for further high-tech growth," said Mrs Milne.

"The government wants to develop the 'knowledge-based' economy around Cambridge. However, the research group report acknowledges that planners must solve the problems of inadequate transport infrastructure and traffic congestion around Cambridge that are already considered to be a deterrent to high-tech businesses.

"Peterborough should not expect to compete with Cambridge, which has a world renowned reputation as a centre of excellence in areas such as bio-technology, research and development and communications technology.

"However, Peterborough can offer considerable advantages in related fields such as specialist engineering, specialist distribution, and technical, computer and business services, in which it already has a strong record."

The research group report reveals that high technology is a 'dynamic' business sector with Cambridgeshire losing almost as many jobs as there were created over the past two years - 2,700 created against 2,540 jobs lost. Many new high-tech businesses have five or fewer employees and their long-term survival is jeopardised by inadequate investment in training, management and financial skills.

The level of business costs in the Cambridgeshire area also prompts some high-tech businesses to move away or to switch production outside the area or even out of the country.

"All these factors underline the substantial advantages which are available in Peterborough for high technology businesses," said Mrs Milne. "We have lower business costs than Cambridge, better transport infrastructure, virtually no traffic congestion and an attractive quality living environment.

"Peterborough can offer excellent facilities for 'second wave' developments when new discoveries progress to the manufacturing stage and require technical and other support services."

September 2000

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