The South West recorded 28 foreign direct investment projects in 2016, of which 75% were first time investments in the region from international investors. This follows a more successful year in 2015, when a surge in FDI saw 37 projects locating in the region.
According to professional services firm EY and their latest annual attractiveness report, in 2016 the majority of UK regions saw an increase in projects, with just four seeing a decline when compared with the previous year including the South West. However, investors predict a decline in the UK’s future attractiveness as a destination for foreign investment.
Bristol continued to lead investment across the region in terms of attracting FDI by securing nine projects in 2016, the same number as in 2015. In terms of sectors, manufacturing and the financial & business services sector dominated FDI investment into the South West with 13 and nine projects respectively.
Andrew Perkins, managing partner at EY across the South West and Wales said: “Whilst it is great to see Bristol bucking the overall trend in declining FDI, the 25% reduction in FDI across the South West region signals a wider malaise that is seen in other more geographically peripheral regions such as Wales, the North East and the North West.
“With a new Mayor in position to deliver on our regional growth strategy to promote the West of England on a global stage, it’s crucial that we find ways to share the benefits of FDI more evenly across the whole of the Great South West. This is a critical challenge that future policy needs to address to ensure the whole region remains attractive, competitive and connected so that we can compete with the rest of the UK.”
Germany was the biggest investor in the South West with seven projects, closely followed by the USA with six. All the FDI secured in the South West was generated from 14 different countries across the globe.