“There are some very interesting results and recommendations in EY’s latest FDI report and it is good to see that on the whole investment in Europe recovered in 2021 following a year in which COVID-19 caused investment levels to drop by over 10%.
“The general picture is a positive one for the UK. Although France came out top in Europe in 2021 with over 1,200 projects, investments into the UK was recorded to be up by almost 2% at 993 projects. Interestingly EY said the investments secured by the UK were typically larger and created more jobs than France. For example, the average foreign investment in the UK created 68 jobs whilst in France, it was 38.
“London continues to be Europe’s leading FDI destination and in the UK it was followed by Manchester and Edinburgh with just over 30 projects each. Scotland as a whole performed well but according to EY, there were big falls in Yorkshire and the East of England.
“This increase in the attractiveness of the UK tallies with the findings in our recent UK Powerhouse report and the panel discussions at our recent First Law International Conference which we held in Manchester in May. With a large footprint, we are certainly seeing increased levels of activity across the UK and it is noticeable that overseas investors are aware of the huge opportunities that exist here.
“One of the key recommendations from our UK Powerhouse report was that in order to help level up the UK economy, more needs to be done to support the economies outside of London to attract more investment. There are some signs that this is happening but more needs to be done. Key to this is ensuring that local infrastructure is strong; there are attractive incentives; and powerful leadership with a clear purpose and strong narrative about their city’s strengths.”
Levels of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the North West fell in 2021 - but the region's FDI levels stayed at broadly pre-pandemic levels while Manchester remained an investment hotspot. The 2022 EY Attractiveness Survey showed 74 projects were hosted in the North West in 2021 - down on 2020’s 85 projects but one up on the 73 projects delivered in 2019. That left the North West’s share of the UK FDI market at 7.5% – down from 8.7% in 2020, but above the 6.6% share in 2019 and 2018.