UK Attracting More Foreign Direct Investment ‘Than Ever Before’

Burflex House, Clay Street, Hull, East Yorkshire, HU8 8HA E.

Burflex House, Clay Street, Hull, East Yorkshire, HU8 8HA E.


UK Attracting More Foreign Direct Investment ‘Than Ever Before’

Businesses in the UK concerned about the possible impact that Brexit might have on their bottom lines might be buoyed by the news coming out of the Department for International Trade this week (July 6th).

Newly published figures show that for the year 2016 to 2017, the UK attracted more foreign direct investment projects than ever before, with over 2,200 recorded. Interestingly, the post-referendum figures reveal a hike of two per cent on the year before – so perhaps fears that businesses would be adversely affected by the decision to leave the EU are somewhat unfounded.

The UK remains the top destination for inward investment in Europe, with creative, life sciences, renewable energy and technology sectors all seeing a rise in the number of projects.

For example, the Northern Powerhouse succeeded in attracting 348 projects, which created almost 15,000 new jobs, while Wales attracted 85 projects and created 2,851 new jobs, the Midlands Engine saw 223 projects launched, resulting in 8,431 new jobs, and Scotland saw 183 projects and 5,547 new jobs created.

Dr Liam Fox, international trade secretary, commented on the results, saying: “Almost one year on since the EU referendum, the UK continues to attract record levels of inward investment and remains extremely attractive to foreign investors.

“As an international economic department, we continue to promote the strengths of the UK as a great inward investment destination, with an open, liberal economy, world-class talent and business-friendly taxation.”

However, it’s perhaps not all smelling of roses right now, with the latest IHS Markit/CIPS UK Construction PMI showing that there was weaker growth momentum in the sector in June. New work, business activity and employment all expanded at slower rates than were seen in May, with concerns about the current business outlook resulting in the non-replacement of voluntary leavers.

Tim Moore, senior economist at IHS Markit and author of the report, noted that this growth slowdown for the month could be attributed in large part to weaker rises in both civil engineering and commercial building activity. Residential construction work, however, continued to climb at one of the fastest rates seen since the end of 2015.

“Survey respondents commented on renewed caution among clients, in response to heightened political and economic uncertainty. Fragile business sentiment led to delayed decision-making on large projects and greater concern about the outlook for workloads during the next 12 months. While construction firms remain upbeat overall about their near-term growth prospects, the degree of confidence fell to its lowest so far this year,” he added.

It’s now being suggested by some, such as BBC Newsnight’s political editor Nicholas Watt, that Brexit might never actually take place, however. According to the Independent, Mr Watt has heard from some quarters that investor fear and a stalling economy could mean that Brexit will be stalled – indefinitely. As ever, it would seem, businesses in the UK will have to wait and see what happens over the next two years… if anything.

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