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UK remains number one investment destination in Europe

New FDI figures show the UK had a record number of inward investment projects and created the second highest number of jobs ever in 2015 to 2016.

  • Record number of inward investment projects into the UK in 2015 to 2016
  • Annual figures also reveal investments generated second highest number of jobs ever
  • UK is the top European destination for investment from emerging markets

Britain has benefitted from record-breaking inward investment by foreign companies, International Trade Secretary Liam Fox has announced.

Across the country, 2,213 inward investment projects were secured in 2015 to 2016, an 11% increase on the previous year. This lead to around 116,000 jobs being created or safeguarded - the second highest number on record.

Almost 1,600 new jobs a week were created by foreign direct investment (FDI) in 2015 to 2016. UK Trade & Investment (UKTI), now part of the Department for International Trade (DIT), helped to secure 4 out of 5 of the projects that created these jobs. Since 2010, nearly 390,000 new jobs have been created through foreign direct investment in the UK.

The department has recorded more foreign direct investment projects than ever before and, according to the EY UK Attractiveness Survey, the UK’s strong performance sees it retain its spot as the number one place in Europe for foreign investment.

Responsible for promoting British trade across the world, DIT helps secure investment from overseas companies for projects in the UK. The department’s annual FDI figures are based on UK job creation and number of projects secured.

International Trade Secretary, Liam Fox, said:

These impressive results show the UK continues to be the place to do business.

We’ve broadened our reach with emerging markets across the world to cement our position as the number one destination in Europe for investment. This continued vote of confidence in the UK will help attract foreign investment to create jobs, security and opportunities for people across the UK.

Dr Adam Marshall, Acting Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce, said:

Keeping the UK attractive to overseas investors is important for our future success. Last year’s up-tick in foreign direct investment is a welcome boost to business, and a good indicator of underlying confidence in the UK economy.

As Britain approaches a time of economic change, we must continue to welcome investors that are willing to make a sustained, long-term commitment all across the country.

The USA remained the UK’s largest source of inward investment providing 570 projects. This was followed by China (including Hong Kong) with 156 and India with 140.

Demonstrating the UK’s attractiveness to an ever-widening pool of global investors, investments originated from a record 79 countries and the UK became the top European destination for projects from emerging markets. Projects from Latin America rose by 240% and those from Central and Eastern Europe surged by 131%.

The regions and the devolved administrations also played an important role in the UK’s success:

  • The Northern Powerhouse saw a boost to FDI projects by nearly a quarter (24%) in 2015 to 2016
  • 14,797 new jobs were created in the Midlands Engine – a rise of 9% from the year before
  • 5,443 new jobs were created in Wales - an increase of 7% from the previous year - through 97 projects; in total, almost 7,000 jobs were created or safeguarded by FDI
  • Northern Ireland secured 33 projects, which created and safeguarded a total of 3,144 jobs with the number of jobs per project rising to 95, the highest figure in the UK
  • Scotland attracted 108 projects, with 5,905 jobs created or safeguarded

The department records wider types of inward investment projects, including mergers and acquisitions and those that are not publicly announced by foreign investors. Therefore, the FDI project figures reported are different from those reported by external organisations, such as EY and FT, who track FDI project flows mostly based on investment announcements. These external organisations report on calendar year, while the department’s statistics are for financial year

Drawing on information from EY’s UK Attractiveness Survey 2016, the Financial Times’ FDI Report 2016 and OECD’s FDI in Figures (2016), the UK ranks first in Europe for FDI projects in total and for FDI projects from high-growth markets.

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