Record foreign investment projects in Scotland

The Scottish government said 2016 was a record-breaking year for the number of foreign direct investment (FDI) projects in Scotland, according to the latest annual survey into FDI attractiveness published by Ernst and Young (EY).

The 2017 EY Scotland Attractiveness Survey showed that Scotland retained its position as the top location in the UK outside London for foreign direct investment (FDI), with investment projects up 2.5% on 2015.

EY said the total number of projects in 2016 exceeded the previous ten-year high set in 2015 – projects were up to 122 in 2016 from 119 in 2015.

The top five countries investing in Scotland in 2016 were the US (43 projects — 35%), France (14 projects — 11%), Germany (7 projects — 6%), Ireland (6 projects — 5%) and China (5 projects — 4%).

The report said 2016 was also a strong year for Scotland in attracting research and development (R&D) inward investment — with 21 individual projects, Scotland retained its position as number one in the UK for R&D projects.

Cabinet economy secretary Keith Brown said: “The statistics not only confirm Scotland’s position as the top UK region outside London for foreign direct investment, but highlight the underlying strengths of the Scottish economy.

“We enjoy resources few nations can match, including one of the most highly-educated workforces in Europe, a long-standing reputation for innovation and an internationally-regarded brand.

“Today’s attractiveness survey indicates these assets continue to be recognised on the world stage, with a substantial number of projects from the US, France and Germany.

“In fact, more than one in 50 of the investment projects across the whole of Europe are located in Scotland.”

Paul Lewis, managing director of Scottish Development International, said: “Scotland has a great track record as a location which holds tremendous appeal to international investors, so it’s heartening to see that position reinforced by the new EY survey, and it’s particularly welcome to hear that Scotland now wins over one in 50 of all investment projects into Europe.

“In a highly competitive inward investment market, this is a huge indicator of Scotland’s global attractiveness and investment performance.

“Through our international network, we continue to promote Scotland as a country which is brilliantly connected for business, and these results reflect the strong partnerships with those who work with us in promoting Scotland as a highly competitive international business location.

“We now have an opportunity to build on Scotland’s  international reach and the connections that exist across many parts of our economy, to attract even more new inward investment to the country.”