There’s no question the UK’s vote to leave the EU injected uncertainty into a broad swath of industries. One looming question for the tech industry is whether multinational companies will stay in the UK or shift their headquarters elsewhere as potential changes to immigration laws force international talent out.
But there’s some good news peeking out from the piled anxiety. Google just announced they plan to go ahead with construction of a new headquarter in London which would create about 3,000 new jobs. The move is being described as a clear vote of confidence in Britain’s continuing future as a tech hub.
“Here in the UK, it’s clear to me that computer science has a great future with the talent, educational institutions, and passion for innovation we see all around us,” CEO Sundar Pichai said in a speech at Google’s current London office.
He went onto say, “we are committed to the UK and excited to continue our investment in our new King’s Cross campus.”
The new building, previously cast into doubt because of the Brexit vote and dissatisfaction with initial designs, will sit between St Pancras and King’s Cross train stations in central London. Google currently employs 4,000 people across the UK and the new office would increase it to 7,000 by 2020.
Pichai also stressed the importance of open borders and the free movement of skilled workers and said he remained optimistic about this prospect.
London mayor Sadiq Khan reacted with a warm welcome to the news. “London is one the world’s leading technology hubs and investment into the capital post-Brexit remains robust, so Google’s expansion will further strengthen our city’s reputation as a global leader in digital technology,” Khan said.
Google’s expansion plan is just the latest in a string of tech companies committing to staying in London and the UK. Just in September, Apple expressed its own vote of confidence when it announced it would move its UK headquarters to Battersea power station in London. The new facility will consolidate 1,400 Apple employees from existing offices around London while providing plenty of more room to grow.
Google’s announcement comes in the wake of criticism Google, Facebook and Twitter are all facing for their role distributing outright fake news headlines leading up to the November 8 U.S. presidential election – otherwise known as the follow-up act to a political campaign fuelled by fear and myth from across the pond.