Cambridge a UK FDI magnet
Nick Gomer, East Managing Partner at EY, explains what EY’s 2019 Attractiveness Survey reveals about the East as an attractive investment destination.
Amidst the uncertainty for business in the region over Brexit and how negotiations over the next few months will play out, EY’s recently launched 2019 UK Attractiveness Survey shines some positive light on the region’s performance.
The report revealed that Cambridge has been ranked as the 8th best performing UK location for attracting Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) projects for a second year running.
This is despite seeing a 29 per cent year-on-year decline in FDI in 2018 to 10 projects from 14 projects in 2017.
What is also encouraging about the results of the report is that a number of our towns and cities have performed well. Cambridge secured the highest number of projects (10) in the East of England, followed by Peterborough with three projects in 2018.
Biggleswade, Hemel Hempstead, Lowestoft, Stamford and Thetford secured two projects each.
While there are certainly positives to take from the results of our report, there is still a mixed picture for the East of England in terms of foreign direct investment.
It’s fantastic to see Cambridge listed as a top 20 UK location for attracting inward investment, and while inward investment in the region remains high when compared to the years prior to 2016 – a 40 per cent year-on-year drop in the number of projects secured cannot be ignored.
At a time when concerns over Brexit appear to be reducing the UK’s appeal and are hampering its ability to attract capital, it becomes increasingly important for the East to play to its strengths.
The region must continue to invest in its own future – such as working hard to attract and retain high-skilled talent and continuing to build its existing strengths in areas such as life sciences.
The UK as a whole must also do more to seize the digital opportunity to modernise manufacturing and services, pioneer digital health and lead in innovative CleanTech technology and applications.
High speed fibre must be used to connect disconnected towns, enabling more remote working, less commuting, less pollution and more local engagement. This investment in technology, infrastructure and skills would not only increase productivity but create better paid, more rewarding jobs.
• You can contact Nick Gomer, EY’s managing partner in the East, at ngomer [at] uk.ey.com.