Google commits to new headquarters and 3,000 additional jobs in London

'Vote of confidence' in the UK comes despite Brexit decision to leave the European Union.
Written by Danny Palmer, Senior Writer

Aeiral view of King's Cross, where Google's London HQ will be built.

Image: Google

Google has confirmed plans to construct a new headquarters at its King's Cross campus in London, in a move which will create 3,000 new jobs.

The planned ten-storey, 650,000 square-foot construction will represent the first wholly owned and designed Google building outside the United States. Google's commitment to the plan comes at a time when much of the UK technology sector is worried about what Brexit means for its future.

However, despite the public vote to leave the European Union, Google CEO Sundar Pichai still believes the company has a big future in the United Kingdom.

"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. We are committed to the UK and excited to continue our investment in our new King's Cross campus," he said, speaking in London.

Google will eventually occupy three buildings in the King's Cross estate, but unlike the two other leased spaces, the new building is being developed from the ground up on land purchased by Google.

Google currently employs around 4,000 people in the UK and the campus will eventually have the capacity to house 7,000 employees, allowing the company to expand its presence in London. It's thought that Google will invest a total of £1bn into its new UK headquarters.

The announcement has been welcomed by techUK, the representative body of the UK's technology sector as "proof that UK tech is, and can continue to be, a vibrant global success story".

"It is clear that we must build on the UK's strengths in tech and digital to drive new growth, jobs and productivity right across the economy. Google's announcement reminds politicians of what is possible if the UK remains open to business, talent and investment," said Charlotte Holloway, poicy director at TechUK.

The new building has been designed by Heatherwick Studio and Bjarke Ingels, and the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan welcomed Google's "commitment" to the capital city.

"This is a vote of confidence in our great city -- creating high-skilled jobs, supporting growth and demonstrating that London is open to business, new investment and talent from around the globe.

"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," he said


Artist's illustration of interior of the new Google building.

Image: Google

Commitment to the project means Google is set to create 3,000 new jobs by 2020. Referencing the Brexit vote, Google's Pichai warned that any government crackdown on immigration and foreign workers would be contrary to the ideals of Google.

"In our experience as a company, when we have been able to bring people together and operate in an open and connected way, it achieves tremendous impact over time," he told the BBC.

"Those are the values we cherish, and we have been open and public about how we think about these things."

The government seems keen for Google to invest in the UK, although earlier this year former Prime Minister David Cameron came under scrutiny for defending a Google tax deal, which the Labour Party believed was a "derisory" settlement.

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