DIT secures over £16 billion of foreign investment
David McQuade - January 9, 2017

The UK’s continued reputation as an attractive place to invest and do business with is helping boost jobs and industry across the country, with new deals worth billions agreed in the last five months.

Since its creation in July, the Department for International Trade (DIT) has helped secure more than £16.3 billion worth of foreign direct investment across the UK in key sectors including property development, infrastructure and renewable energy.

Following a record year for foreign direct investment in 2015/16, when almost 1,600 jobs a week were created through international investments, the new department has helped broker investment safeguarding and creating jobs in sectors from mineral extraction to financial services.

In addition to a series of high profile investments in the UK, with global brands committing to new UK sites, DIT’s work to support new investment often helps the growth of smaller UK firms outside of London:

  • DIT helps to create exporting entrepreneurs – the majority (80%) of businesses the department helps to export abroad has fewer than 250 employees
  • Since 2011, 80% of the 712,000 jobs secured or created through foreign investment were outside of London, proving that foreign investment mostly benefits the UK’s regions

Regenerating local industry
Confirmed just before Christmas, Australian company Peak Resources will boost heavy industry in the Tees Valley with a planned £100 million investment in a new minerals refinery:

  • the investment will also help put the UK at the forefront of electric car development, as the refinery will produce the critical raw materials needed for the electric and hybrid drive motors
  • the company cited the support from DIT and the Tees Valley Combined Authority, as well as the government’s ‘progressive stance on maintaining competitive corporate fiscal regimes’ as a key motive to set up in the UK

Renewable energy
Foreign investment from Denmark’s DONG Energy, also confirmed in December, will boost the UK’s leadership in renewable energy development in a multi-national venture based in Scotland:

  • Campbeltown, Scotland, will build the UK’s first offshore wind towers in a deal involving companies from Denmark, Germany and South Korea securing hundreds of jobs in coming years
  • International Trade Minister Greg Hands met with the companies in South Korea in November to help secure the deal
  • November also saw DONG Energy commit to create 30 skilled jobs in Northwich, Cheshire, with a new £60 million recycling and energy plant able to service 110,000 homes
  • the company plans to invest £12 billion in renewable energy projects in the UK by 2020

Foreign investment in manufacturing also supports jobs with other skills:

  • the 2009 investment by international firm JDR Energy in the UK’s first manufacturing plant for deep-sea cables to supply offshore wind farms has led to other investments as its operations expanded
  • the department recently helped secure a new centre for the company’s global services and sales team, creating 50 jobs

Housing
Foreign investment is also tackling the UK’s housing shortage following a recent commitment from Chinese construction firm CNBM which will plough £2.5 billion into the development of 25,000 modular homes in the UK:

  • pre-made homes, costing around 20% less to build then traditional bricks and mortar, will provide an affordable option for potential homeowners, local authorities and housing associations
  • it will also create over 1,000 jobs in six new factories in Scotland, Wales and England with support from the department

International Trade Secretary Liam Fox said:

“Recent major investments show how much the UK is valued as an innovative business-friendly country, and will continue to be as we leave the EU. But the benefits of foreign investment have much more impact for local communities across the UK, transforming local industry, creating jobs and tackling issues like housing and clean energy.

Britain remains truly open for business, that’s why my department is supporting businesses in the UK and across the world to attract investment to boost our economy. Long-term business investments like these are a clear vote of confidence in the UK and our strong economy post-Brexit.”