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Google gives go-ahead for London HQ

17 November 2016

Technology giant Google has announced plans to build a new headquarters in London despite fears over possible immigration curbs.

In a major boost to the UK’s tech sector, the chief executive of Google has revealed that the company is to go ahead with construction of a new £1 billion headquarters in London, creating 3,000 jobs over the next three years. The project involves building an office block next to Google’s existing complex in King’s Cross in central London – a project that has been in the pipeline for some time but whose future was thrown into doubt following the referendum vote to leave the European Union.

But chief executive Sundar Pichai said that, while the company still harboured reservations about the Brexit vote and about an expected government crackdown on immigration, it remained committed to building the new London campus. “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. ‘Big opportunities’

On the problems posed by possible new curbs on immigration and a post-Brexit ban on the free movement of labour, Mr Pichai told the BBC, “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. Those are the values we cherish, and we have been open and public about how we think about these things. “When I look at London (I see) a place in which we are able to attract great talent, find great talent in the UK … but it has also been a place where people are willing to come from anywhere in the world. Increasingly, for the kinds of complex things we do, we need to bring people who are across many disciplines – with many different backgrounds – together to solve problems. That’s how you can build newer things, so that is particularly important for us.”

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