West Midlands is UK’s leading area for foreign investment after London

The West Midlands is the UK’s leading location for attracting Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) outside London and the South East official data shows.

145 FDI projects landed in the region during the 2020/21 financial year, official data from the Department for International Trade (DIT) shows.

Attracting more projects than Scotland and Northern Ireland combined, the West Midlands holds the third largest share of all UK regions outside the capital and South East areas, responsible for 9.4% of the UK’s total FDI landscape.

Meanwhile, jobs created by overseas investors during the same period totaled 4,443, bucking the declining national trend to mark a 14% increase in employment from the previous year.

Matt Hammond, Chair of the West Midlands Growth Company (WMGC) – the region’s official investment promotion agency and Midlands Region Leader at PwC, said: “The last year has tested economies and societies around the world. Alongside the health crisis there has been an economic crisis which has been felt keenly in the West Midlands. That said, these latest figures show that despite the storm of uncertainty surrounding business confidence, our region remains a firm favourite with investors at home and overseas.

“This sustained track record of popularity – during such unprecedented conditions – is testament to the strong foundations of industry, innovation, world-class academia and highly-skilled talent that underpin our economy and continue to resonate with organisations across the globe.”

Neil Rami, Chief Executive of the West Midlands Growth Company – the region’s investment promotion agency – comments: “As well as reinforcing the West Midlands’ consistent stronghold on inbound FDI, these figures sharpen the case for matching the region’s international success with devolved investment autonomy.

“If we are serious about levelling up our economy and indeed Britain’s declining share of global foreign investment, we must decentralise the country’s FDI levers away from London and devolved nations exclusively, and towards globally appealing, highly productive regions like ours. As overseas competition heats-up post-Brexit, now is the time to unleash the West Midlands investment potential – DIT’s latest ranking is clear testament to that.”