Driven by the regional powerhouses
The most striking feature of this year’s report is the performance of the UK’s regions, with most English regions seeing significant increases in projects, and Scotland enjoying its best year on record.
Over 90% of the UK’s total growth came from the regions outside London and the South East.
With investors voicing solid support for the UK’s agenda to devolve power to a regional level, it now seems devolution is starting to work, and foreign investors are helping rebalance economic activity across the country.
The North West led the way with a 118% increase in projects. Yorkshire increased 66%, Scotland 51% and the West Midlands 46%.
The Northern Powerhouse has recorded 127% growth in the 2 years since the term was coined.
... creating a platform for future growth
The UK also made progress in several other important areas:
- 172% increase in key strategic investments – such as headquarters – giving the UK a 53% share of the European market. R&D project numbers increased 37% in 2015.
- Manufacturing continues to do well, with the UK attracting more manufacturing FDI projects than Germany for the second year running.
- Good balance across the sectors, with financial and business services posting healthy growth
- 79% increase in projects from China, and 58% increase in projects from India
- Investment from the European Economic Area (EEA) grew significantly, with a higher number of projects than the North American Free Trade Area (NAFTA) for the first time since 1997.