Scotland leading UK on investment

Ivan McKee
Ivan McKee

FOREIGN direct investment (FDI) results in Scotland strongly outperform UK as a whole.

Scotland has recorded a 14 per cent increase in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) projects in 2021, according to Ernst & Young’s (EY) latest Annual Attractiveness Survey results.

Figures published today show this significant level of investment is compared to an increase in FDI of 1.8 per cent across the UK and 5.4 per cent across Europe.

The latest survey results show Scotland’s perceived attractiveness to investors now sits at a record high, with 15.8 per cent of investors rating it as the UK’s most attractive FDI location, up from 15 per cent last year and more than doubling its rating from the pre-pandemic period (seven per cent in 2019).

Other key findings from the survey results include:

  • Three Scottish cities, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen remain in the Top 10 locations outside of London for attracting inward investment projects. Edinburgh alongside Manchester is ranked equal first; Dundee and Livingston also make the Top 20
  • Scotland performed strongly in high-value, high-growth industries like digital and utilities alongside a rebound in manufacturing FDI. The four leading sectors were digital technology (33 projects), utility supply (18 projects), business and professional services (14 projects), and machinery and equipment (14 projects)
  • Digital projects in Scotland rose by 73.4 per cent, in contrast to a 7 per cent decline in Europe and 7 per cent growth in the UK overall. Scotland is now firmly established as the UK’s number two location for digital projects behind London

Trade Minister Ivan McKee said:

“It is great to see these latest results, which show Scotland leading the UK when it comes to securing Foreign Direct Investment, in spite of the significant challenges posed by Brexit and the pandemic. That is testament to our skills base, and our highly qualified workforce.”

“We have been the most successful nation or region in the UK, outside of London, for 9 of the last 11 years and for the 7th year running, in attracting FDI.”

“These results indicate that our values-led approach to investment, set out in our Inward Investment Plan, is delivering and underline the important ongoing contribution of inward investment to the recently published National Strategy for Economic Transformation.”

“It is critically important that we continue to work closely with inward investors by offering our unique Team Scotland approach to support an inclusive and wellbeing economy, as we strive to meet our goal of being net zero by 2045.”

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