WITH Reading’s bid for City Status due to be submitted next week, council leader Jason Brock explains why it can’t lose. He said:

Next week the council will officially submit, on behalf of Reading, a bid to Government for City Status. It’s an important point, because while the document has the council’s name on it, this is Reading’s bid. If successful, it will be Reading’s success.

Colleagues who were at the council for previous bids tell me there is now a level of support and enthusiasm not seen before, which is also my experience. Residents are rightly proud of their town and want to see Reading recognised on a national level.

We are grateful for the support of our business community and our Berkshire neighbours who recognise the positive impact a city title could have on the local economy, both inside and outside the borough boundary.

More than that, I’ve been struck by the support of residents of the town and its amazing community and voluntary sector.

Reading’s bid rightly focuses on everything you would expect it to. Our powerful economy, our rich history, our unrivalled connectivity, our vibrant culture and arts scene, our glorious diversity and our strides towards zero carbon - all key credentials.

But what I’m even more enthused about are the opportunities the bid can offer local residents and community groups, independent of its success.

We hear an awful lot at national level lately about what the Government call ‘levelling up’. It’s not a new thing, in fact it’s something we have focused on in Reading for a number of years.

Reading’s bid will demonstrate how we would use city status to boost our plans for levelling up locally. As successful a town as Reading already is, we also know there are people in some of our communities that do not benefit from that success.

Key to our bid is opening up new opportunities for those residents, particularly in terms of new skills and training opportunities.

Everybody has their own ideas about what makes Reading special.

In compiling the bid we spoke to businesses, community groups and organisations and residents, and all those views are reflected in the bid.

For me personally, what really sets it apart is its sense of both diversity and community. People have many reasons for living in Reading. There are residents who hail from generations of Reading families, some grew up nearby and love what it has to offer, many studied here and then chose to make it their home, others came here for work from other parts of the country and, indeed, the world.

No matter the background, everybody has something different to offer, but put it all together and it works, creating the unique blend of community we have come to know and love.

As amazing it would be for Reading to be handed the city status we know it deserves, we don’t need any external validation to know what a great place it is to live and work.

If we don’t get the award, we got to shout about Reading. It’s win-win.