SWINDON'S top businesses and organisations have thrown their weight behind the town's bid to become the new Great British Railway headquarters. 

The Adver sits proudly alongside 16 companies, such as Zurich and Nationwide, and public bodies like Great Western Hospitals Trust and New College Swindon as signatories on an open letter to Transport Secretary Grant Shapps. 

"We strongly urge you and your team to consider the standout merits of Swindon's bid to host the new national headquarters of Great British Railways," the letter starts. 

The letter goes on to extol the virtues of Swindon's historic railway past, but also states that the town is looking to the future with the potential new headquarters. 

Also mentioned is town's mixture of productivity and deprivation.

It said that Swindon has one of the most productive workforces in the country, but that much of 'inner Swindon' is within the bottom 10 per cent most deprived 'Lower Super Output Areas' in England. 

It highlights that this is why the Government has made Swindon an education investment area with the University Technical College, New College Swindon and Institute of Technology driving forward engineering and STEM subjects. 

The letter adds that this educational focus combined with the Swindon and Wiltshire Careers Hub, rated in the top five in the country, best position the town to grow the next generation of talent for the rail sector. 

Other backers who signed the letter include Swindon Borough Council itself, Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership, Swindon Chamber Of Commerce, Business West and FSB. 

The Royal Agricultural University, STEAM, UTC Swindon, Mechanics Institute Trust, Voluntary Action Swindon and Olive Creative have also supported Swindon's bid by adding their signature.  

A total of 42 towns and cities have submitted bids to the government to become the new location for the headquarters, with the Government due to announce a shortlist this month.

There will then be a public vote to determine which town or city will win.

A spokesperson for Swindon Borough Council said: "One of the key judging criteria is demonstrating public support, so Swindon needs as many local organisations and businesses, and as many of you, to show your support as possible.

"A shortlist of locations will be announced in May, when a vote will help determine the successful location. In the meantime, you can w your support by completing this short survey: https://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/8M0QF2."