Buckinghamshire is part of the Thames Valley Region of England, northwest of London, with a population of 500,000. Buckinghamshire has two major towns, the county capital, Aylesbury, with 56,000 people, and High Wycombe, with over 92,000. Thanks to its proximity to the capital, the population is growing, and is expected to be over 530,000 by 2026. The population is ethnically diverse, with substantial Asian and Caribbean-origin communities.
Good accessibility to London, a 30-minute drive away, makes the region a good location for businesses. The local economy is competitive, with generally low levels of unemployment and the fastest job growth of all local authority areas in the UK. Moreover, the region is part of the Greater South-East, which has the strongest economic growth in Britain (4.6%).
IT, telecommunications and the media are all sectors of excellence, particularly in the internationally famous Pinewood Studios. The county is also home to the National Film and Television School. Other important sectors are advanced engineering, food and drink industries and healthcare.
However, the current global downturn is a serious challenge for the area, requiring investment in infrastructures to maintain the region’s competitiveness. Buckinghamshire has the largest small-firm economy in the country and one of the smallest public sector economies. Yet the supply line of technical skills does not support the industrial mix. Buckinghamshire’s incidence of deprivation and unemployment is increasing. The Wycombe District has lost 18,000 jobs or 17.1% of employment since 2004.
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