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
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