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Yorkshire & Humberside sees surge in Foreign Direct Investment

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22 Jun 2016

Yorkshire & Humberside recorded more Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) projects in 2015 – at 83 – than in any year since 1997, according to the latest EY UK Attractiveness Survey.

The 83 projects represent an increase of 66% on 2014’s figures when the region attracted 50 projects. 

Leeds was the top choice for international investors in the region in 2015 with 31 FDI projects, with the remaining projects spread widely across the Yorkshire & Humberside region, including in key parts of Leeds City Region: eight projects located in Bradford; seven in Hull; six in Barnsley; and four in Wakefield.

Stuart Watson, Yorkshire & Humber Senior Partner at EY said: “The work that has taken place to position the whole of Yorkshire & 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.”

The two main factors influencing foreign investment across the UK are the availability and skills of the local workforce (27%) and access to good transport infrastructure (26%). 

Stuart commented: “Improving transport links throughout the North is particularly important for achieving economic growth. The groundwork for this transformation is now taking place, and recent developments such as the establishment of Transport for the North committee and the development of the Northern Transport Strategy should serve to provide clear ideas and a unified voice for advancing the North’s transport investment priorities with the Government.

“The demand for good transport infrastructure makes projects such as HS3 and the electrification of the transpennine rail route are all the more essential, as they will bring better connectivity within the region, reduce logistic times, and could expand the catchment for skilled labour.”

Stuart concluded: “The concept of a Northern Powerhouse has undoubtedly helped to improve the overall attractiveness of the region, but in order that we see sustained benefits flow from this, 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. 

“In the meantime, we need to continue to encourage investors to look beyond London and see the opportunities available to them across Yorkshire & Humberside.  That means pulling together, across the whole of the North, to demonstrate our strengths and capabilities to the world.”

LEP Chair, Roger Marsh OBE has offered his comment on the report here.

Where the investment came from

While the US dominated in all UK regions, the next most important sources of investment for Yorkshire & Humberside were India, the Netherlands and Germany.  Interestingly, India was the second biggest origin for FDI projects for Yorkshire & Humberside in 2015, compared to fifth by number of projects for the UK as a whole.