Scotland has hit a new record for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) for the third year in a row, setting a new 10-year high, as revealed by EY’s latest Scotland Attractiveness Survey.
A 7% increase in the number of projects secured in Scotland in 2017 showed a higher rate of growth than the UK as a whole, and as a result Scotland’s share of UK FDI projects grew by 0.1%.
Additionally, for the second consecutive year Scotland emerged as the UK’s premier destination for R&D FDI, with 22 projects representing a 70% increase from 2016 and accounting for the lion’s share (24%) of all UK R&D investments.
EY senior partner Mark Harvey said Scotland had demonstrated an “outstanding ability” to attract and drive sustained growth of FDI, but added the performance of the UK as a whole within Europe is a signal that competition for FDI projects is intensifying. He warned that previous levels of attractiveness are “not guaranteed to continue”.
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Mr Harvey added: “Scotland has a powerful proposition where connectivity, both infrastructure and digital, combined with access to skills and talent continue to make Scotland a leading contender for foreign direct investment into the UK.
“This is of increasing significance at a time when investor sentiment towards Scotland as an attractive destination remains steady, whilst appeal of the UK weakens, offering Scotland a golden opportunity to consolidate current performance and push harder to win a bigger share of UK inward investment.
“It is particularly important that Scotland exploits this opportunity during the current environment of uncertainty with Brexit nine months away.”
As in 2016, business services attracted the greatest number of FDI projects to Scotland, and digital also performed well, accounting for the second largest number of projects generated with a 56% increase in project numbers.
According to the Attractiveness Survey the most noteworthy activities were manufacturing and R&D. Scotland is also performing increasingly well in securing headquarters (HQ) projects.