2014 UK attractiveness survey


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There can be no doubt that the UK put in an outstanding performance in 2013 attracting and securing FDI projects from across the world.

The statistics speak for themselves. UK projects rose by almost 15% to 799, the highest number ever, against the background of an overall European market that grew just 4%. As a result, the UK’s market share rose to one-fifth of all European projects, close to its record high over the last decade.

The UK also attracted 52 R&D projects: 20% more than Germany, giving it a Europe-leading market share of 18% of R&D FDI.

Our survey of investors’ perceptions of the UK mirrors these findings. The UK is now the most attractive European location for global investors, up from eighth place to fifth in the worldwide ranking of countries that investors see as attractive for FDI over the next three years. The UK has overtaken Germany for the first time, with only China, the US, India and Brazil now ahead of it.

The project data for 2013 and the results of our perceptions survey show four key drivers of the UK’s performance:

  1. The strength and consistency of the UK’s appeal across a wide range of attributes important to investors. The UK continues to score over 80% for the attractiveness of its top six attributes, with quality of life, technology and telecommunications, infrastructure and stability of social climate all seen as very strong differentiators.
  2. The strength of the UK’s attractiveness to existing investors. Both EIM FDI figures and the perception study show companies that have already invested here tend to be more positive about the UK’s attributes for FDI, and are more likely to invest here in the future.
  3. The work that has been undertaken to improve the UK’s offer to potential investors. Survey respondents highlight financing, support for SMEs, taxation and support for key industries as areas in which the UK has advanced over the last year.
  4. The UK benefits from the apparently irresistible draw of London, the country’s “jewel in the crown”, and Europe’s leading city for FDI. The number of projects coming to London rose more than one fifth in 2013 and accounted for nearly half of all UK investments, with particular strength in areas such as R&D and headquarters projects.

When all these factors come together – as they did in 2013 – the UK is able to attract the leading share of investments from major markets like the US, Japan and India, lead Europe in key sectors such as software and business services, and in R&D and HQ investments.