Brexit bonuses continue – Britain is a magnet for foreign money

Dominic Johnson said Britain has become one of the top investment destinations in the world since we left the EU.

The government’s investment minister said the UK is now the leading country in Europe for new Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) projects.

Britain has the most valuable tech sector on the continent and the most tech unicorns – a start-up company worth more than $1billion (£880million).

FDI projects created 80,000 new jobs here in 2022, he said.

Mr Johnson said: “Our plan is working. Just look at Tata’s £4billion gigafactory in Somerset, Marubeni’s £10 billion for green projects, Metsa Tissue’s £500million in Goole, to name just a few.”

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He also highlighted that CEOs and investors around the world are attracted to invest in the UK.

Mr Johnson pointed to EY’s latest attractiveness survey which found the UK remains second in Europe and first for financial services.

Last year a PwC survey saw the UK overtake China to become American CEOs’ favoured growth market.

He said there’s “more to come” with major investment opportunities on the horizon.

“Later this month, our second Global Investment Summit brings over 200 CEOs to our shores to pledge billions more investment for our most thriving sectors in tech, life sciences and clean growth.”

Mr Johnson hit out amid reports the UK is struggling to attract FDI, with projects down nearly 30% from a peak in 2016-2017.

Figures published by the Department for Business and Trade showed that the UK secured 1,654 FDI projects in the year ending in March 2023, up 4% from 2021-22 but down 27% from 2016-17.

It also showed that the number of projects in many of the UK’s key sectors – including business and consumer services, media and the creative industries, and electronics and communication – was sharply down year-on-year in 2022-2023, and had dropped more than 60% compared with 2016-2017.

Nigel Driffield, professor of international business at Warwick Business School, told the Financial Times that since Brexit the UK is “not attracting the sorts of investment that are focused on selling and generating products in the richest markets in the world, the [EU] single market”.

Economists warn that high inflation, low economic growth, policy U-turns and political turmoil over the past two years have also had a negative effect on the UK’s appeal to foreign investors.

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