Inward investment into UK projects hits record high, according to UKTI

Out-Law News | 21 Jul 2014 | 3:28 pm | 2 min. read

UK projects attracted the most inward investment last year since records began in the 1980s, according to the UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) agency’s latest inward investment report .

France and Germany were the two largest European contributors to UK projects in 2013-14, delivering a combined total of more than 100 projects representing increases of 18% and 31% respectively, the report said.

The UK also “remains the number one destination in Europe for foreign direct investment (FDI) projects”, according to independent external organisations cited by UKTI including Ernst & Young.

The annual investment figures for 2013-14 show that the UK attracted 14% more projects than in the previous year. India and China are among “key growing markets stepping up high quality investment in the UK”, UKTI said.

The US led the way as the largest source of FDI projects for the UK over the past year, generating 501 projects, an increase of 27%. Canada was the top Commonwealth country for FDI into the UK, with investment increasing by 41% to 89 projects.

UKTI recorded a total of 1,773 FDI projects landing in the UK over the past year, up from 1,559 in 2012-13. “These projects are estimated to bring with them over 111,000 new and safeguarded jobs”, according to the report. UKTI and its partners supported 1,462 of those projects.

The leading industry group for projects and jobs was advanced manufacturing, with 418 and 37,204 respectively. However, the report said “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”.

UKTI investment group managing director Michael Boyd said the agency introduced new measures over the past year “to identify and land higher-value and better-quality foreign investments, without compromising on numbers”.

Boyd said: “We expanded our operations from 34 to 51 markets. Our investment organisations, which we expanded to new sectors last year, provide focus on key sectors aligned with our industrial strategies, utilising the skills of business leaders with high credibility in those sectors. And we were hugely successful in attracting investment into infrastructure, attracting almost £24 billion of commitments.”

In addition to the growth in value of inward FDI stock of 8.3%, the UK also increased its relative share of the total accumulated FDI stock in European Union countries by about $17bn, reaching 19% as of the end of 2013. “Other major economies in Europe have a significantly lower share of total European inward FDI stock, such as France (13%) and Germany (10%), UKTI said. The agency has an “internal ambition” to contribute towards increasing the value of the UK’s inward FDI stock to £1.5 trillion by 2020.

European investors remain the largest holders of FDI stock in the UK (58%), while the US is the largest single source country (29%). Other large source markets for UK FDI stock are the Netherlands (15%), France (8%) and Germany (7%).

According to the UK’s Office for National Statistics inward FDI stock is spread across a range of industry sectors. The largest concentration is in financial services (45%), followed by mining (9%), information communications technology (8%) and oil, pharmaceuticals and chemicals (6%).