Switch on to Swindon is in the business of promoting the place and so we are of course going to be unapologetically positive about Swindon. However, our messages, materials and resources are credible because we are committed to backing them up with evidence, statistics and data. This is why we have been eagerly awaiting the publication this week of the latest Centre for Cities Outlook report, an annual economic performance index of the 63 largest cities and towns in the UK.

According to the report Swindon continues to perform strongly and ranks highly on a whole range of economic indicators. Perhaps the stand out statistic is our ranking of seventh in the country when it comes to the rate of productivity – up three places from a year ago.

The report focusses on the future of work in cities and the potential impact of automation and technological advancements on jobs and the economic make up of cites. While the pace of advancement may be unprecedented, adapting to new technologies is not a new phenomenon and the report makes some interesting observations about how towns and cities have achieved this in the last century.

Of course when it comes to reinvention, innovation and adapting Swindon has a great track record and continues to be well placed to take advantage of opportunities while withstanding some of the challenges that Centre for Cities identify.

Our high productivity ranking indicates that businesses in Swindon are early adopters of new technology and are operating efficiently. This also reflects the balance in our economy of large scale businesses and a thriving SME sector. Alongside this Swindon’s business base has grown at the eighth largest rate and which is cause for much optimism.

The diversity of our economy is again one of our competitive advantages. We have strengths across a range of key sectors from advanced automotive engineering to financial services and life sciences. You only need to look at the ambassador list on the SOTS website to see how diverse our business base is. - http://switchontoswindon.com/ambassador-directory/

Technology advancement is fundamentally changing the economy and in my opinion this presents Swindon with one of its best opportunities for economic growth. We are already home to some international brands such as Intel and established market leaders in technology, particularly professional servers and consultancy/development. We also have hundreds of emerging businesses that are innovating in areas such as 3D mapping technologies, virtual reality, renewables and new energy. Harnessing this activity and developing Swindon’s proposition in these areas will certainly be a focus for us.

The SOTS team will be busy over the next few days updating the resources we have on the website following the publication of this report. So look out for up to date infographics, case studies, stories, etc. I’d recommend taking a look at the full report here - http://www.centreforcities.org/

The main thing I’d like us all to take from this report is confidence. Yes Swindon faces some of the same challenges as towns and cities across the country. However when measured against those 63 towns and cities we perform very strongly. So, when we are out there talking about Swindon and promoting the place let’s do it with confidence because the evidence is there to back us up.