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UK attracts the most inward investment since records began

22 July 2014

Annual investment figures from UKTI for 2013/2014 show the UK attracted 14 percent more projects than the previous year.

This is supported by external independent sources, such as Ernst & Young, who have confirmed that the UK remains the number one destination in Europe for foreign direct investment projects.

The UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) inward investment report also shows 66,390 new jobs were created, the highest since 2001. In total 1,773 investment projects were set up by foreign businesses in the UK during the 2013 to 2014 financial year. In Scotland, there were 122 projects creating 5,374 new jobs.

Since 2010, UKTI has recorded 6,172 inward investment projects which are estimated to have created more than 220,000 jobs. Over the same period UKTI has recorded 412 projects in Scotland creating almost 21,000 new jobs.

The report shows that the benefits are spread throughout the UK with England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and London all recording increases in the number of investment projects landing and new jobs created.

Northern Ireland in particular recorded a significant increase in investment projects compared to 2012 to 2013 – 32 percent – while Wales registered an 18 percent increase in the number of investments and Scotland received a 10 percent boost.

Individual investments in Wales and Scotland, on average, had the largest impact in terms of creation or safeguarding of jobs (132 and 87 jobs per project respectively). Each investment in Northern Ireland is associated with 77 jobs, while projects landing in London are estimated to have created or safeguarded on average 44 jobs per project.

The number of investment projects landing in England (excluding London) also increased by 11 percent, reaching 840 projects.

The UK continues to attract high quality investment from around the globe both from our established economic partners in Europe, North America and Japan but also from key growing markets such as India and China.

The USA led the way as the largest source of FDI projects for the UK, generating 501 projects, up 27 percent. The top Commonwealth country for FDI is Canada. Canadian investment reached new heights in 2013 to 2014, with 89 projects, up an encouraging 41 percent.

European companies also demonstrated increased interest in the UK. The 2 largest European contributors were France and Germany, both delivering over 100 projects, representing rises of 18 percent and 31 percent respectively.

The highest numbers of projects were in sectors central to the Industrial Strategy including the advanced manufacturing industry group with 418 projects creating a total of 37,204 jobs.

The Engineering Employers' Federation (EEF) welcomed the news, but says the UK must continue to up its game if it is to enjoy long-term growth. EEF chief economist, Lee Hopley says the UK continues to punch above its weight in attracting overseas investment.

"This suggests that reforms to improve the competitiveness of the tax system coupled with our ability to capitalise on strengths, such as the science base and flexible labour markets, have propelled the UK up the rankings for investors around the world," she says, adding that the ability to access European markets will also have been a factor in many of these decisions.

“Manufacturing has played a starring role in driving up inward investment and this serves to reinforce the vital need to continue building supply chain capacity and encourage investment in technologies," says Ms Hopley. "It’s clear that we cannot afford to become complacent - we must keep raising our game to lock-in long-term growth by investing more in skills and innovation and driving business costs down."

CBI director-general, John Cridland says investment in Britain is flying high. From established trading partners to newer, high-growth markets, he believes the United Kingdom is making headway in attracting investors who will be critical to the future of our economy.

“The UK is a very strong brand overseas, and this is an engine for providing the growth and jobs we need to drive forward a healthy and sustainable recovery," says Mr Cridland. “We want to see even more international businesses setting up shop in the UK, as well as greater number of British firms exporting their products to markets across the world, to secure our global future.”

The full report can be accessed here.

Les Hunt

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