Highest levels of FDI in two decades for Yorkshire and the Humber
23 May 2017
Yorkshire and Humberside recorded more foreign direct investment (FDI) projects in 2016 – at 98 – than in any year since 1997, according to the latest EY UK Attractiveness Survey.
2016 saw an increase of 24% in projects compared to 2015 which was, in itself, a landmark year for investment in the region. A difference in 2016 is that FDI projects were spread more widely across the whole of Yorkshire rather than in just one city region, bringing growth and jobs across the whole region. South Yorkshire in particular attracted a strong level of FDI projects, with eight locating in Barnsley and six in Rotherham. In West Yorkshire, Leeds led the way securing twelve projects and Bradford six. North Yorkshire attracted eleven projects and the Humberside area eight.
Manufacturing projects led the surge in investment in the region in 2016, making up 57% of all projects, followed by Financial and Business Services (15%) and Retail and Hospitality (10%).
The majority of investment in the region originated from the European Economic Area (EEA) with 52 projects, followed by North America (NAFTA) with 30 projects. On an individual country basis, the USA was the biggest investor in the Yorkshire and Humber region with 30 projects, followed by Germany with ten, France with nine and Austria, Ireland and the Netherlands each investing in five projects. In all, FDI was generated from 25 different countries.
Suzanne Robinson, Yorkshire and Humber Senior Partner at EY said: “The work that has taken place to position the whole of Yorkshire and Humberside as a strong investment location in the global marketplace is starting to pay off. These figures show that the international investment community has seen the potential in the region, with its access to the right skills, infrastructure and strong supply chain networks.
“Manufacturing in particular has seen strong growth in this region. This is not just from factories, the Yorkshire and Humber region attracted four HQs, four logistics facilities, three testing centres and two training centres in 2016, demonstrating the strength and diversity of skills available in this region to foreign investors. However looking beyond manufacturing, the number of software projects in this region fell from six to two, and research and development (R&D) projects fell from five to just one, which clearly defines a need to focus more resources in these areas in the future.”
51% of all FDI projects in the Yorkshire and Humber region were announced before the EU Referendum vote in June 2016, with 49% announced after this date.
Kersten England Chief Executive of Bradford MDC and Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) lead Chief Executive for Business, Innovation and Growth commented:
“Yorkshire and the Humber has strength and confidence in our growing economy, with a GVA of £109.7bn, a population of 5.3 million and a base of 178,000 businesses. We’re able to offer a variety of investment opportunities, a critical mass of skills and significant investment in infrastructure to make it happen. Yorkshire really is the dominant force in the North and the counterweight to London that the UK needs to rebalance the economy.” Although London remained the UK’s dominant location for FDI, the Northern Powerhouse and the Midlands Engine, continued to do well attracting roughly double the number of projects they secured at the beginning of the last decade.
Suzanne added: “The concept of a Northern Powerhouse has undoubtedly helped to improve the overall attractiveness of the region. However, it will need to remain a key priority consistently for the medium term if we are to realise the full economic benefit from re-balancing the economy.”
“What is clear, is that the UK has a short window to act. On a positive note, across the North in particular we have a solid base to build from, with globally renowned strengths. A rapid response and clear strategy can help strengthen our position for inward investment from all parts of the globe."