Britain is open for business

Posted on 15 Jul 2010 by The Manufacturer

David Cameron has pointed to foreign investment as a key focus for the UK’s economic recovery, after UK Trade & Investment revealed big increases during 2009/10.

The Prime Minister, speaking yesterday at the UK Trade & Investment Business Summit, said: “We want Britain to be a place where companies can grow and succeed, where the world’s best companies thrive, where great ideas and innovations are turned into great products and where we have a world-class workforce.

“We are determined to deliver the pro-business environment investors need; getting the deficit down to create certainty and stability, cutting business taxes, delivering flexible employment and cutting red tape and regulation.

“Whether your company is established here, expanding here or relocating here, Britain is back open for business and it’s going to be better than before – and better than the competition.”

His audience included representatives over 100 of the UK’s leading investors, including Hutchison Whampoa, Motorola, Tata Group, Toyota, Siemens, Emirates, Fujitsu and Pfizer.

Cameron’s comments came after UKTI released national investment figures showing a record 54 countries invested in the UK in 2009/10. Inward investment generated 94,000 jobs over the past year – a 20% rise on the previous year – across 1,619 projects.

The report finds that investment in the UK’s high-tech manufacturing sector resulted in a 14% increase in job creation and there was a 41% increase in Environmental Technologies and Renewables projects. There was a 23 per cent increase in Life Science projects resulting in an 80 per cent increase in associated jobs. The number of R&D investment projects increased by 36 per cent.

In addition, there was a 10 per cent increase in headquarters choosing to locate in the UK.

By country, French investment attracted 9,157 jobs from 99 projects while Germany was responsible for 90 projects generating 3,867 jobs. The UK also attracted a 14 per cent increase in projects from Italy and a 35% increase in projects from Spain.

The number of jobs generated by investment from the USA rose by 14% to over 31,500. Canada rose 60% to 3,000. Japan is the top Asian investor and China is now the sixth largest investor in total. Investment also increased from Eastern Europe as well as other emerging economies including Turkey, Taiwan and Mexico.

UKTI says it played a role in securing more than half of the 94,000 jobs generated by inward investment, a two-fold increase on the previous year.

Business secretary Vince Cable described inward investment as “crucial” to the UK economy.

“It creates thousands of jobs for the country and is key to the economic growth of our regions,” he said.

“I know how attractive the UK is for doing business. That’s why I’m so pleased that today I can meet with such vital international companies to encourage them to keep bringing business to Britain.”

The UKTI’s inward investment report is available on its website.