On Monday 9th Nov, 2020 UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, announced a major addition to the UK Government’s ability to attract foreign investment, in the form of a newly established Office for Investment.
The new Office for Investment will aim to attract high-value investment opportunities into the UK which align with key Government priorities, such as net zero, investment in infrastructure and advancing research and development.
The creation of the office comes in response to the Government’s extensive engagement with investors, who indicated that as global competition intensifies, a more structured approach will both offer better support to existing investors and land high-value, high-impact investment, which, in turn will help maximise the positive role investment plays in the UK economy.
The office will be based within the Department for International Trade (DIT) with Minister for Investment Gerry Grimstone leading its work in close partnership with No.10, under sponsorship of the PM and Chancellor of the Exchequer.
The most strategic investments are often the most complex and require a joined-up approach across Government and the private sector. The Office for Investment will look to resolve potential barriers to landing these ‘top tier’ investments, including regulatory constraints and planning issues.
Driving inward investment into all corners of the UK through a ‘single front door’ and boosting economic recovery across the country, this major operational transformation is designed to ensure the UK is the most attractive destination in the world to invest.
It will also ensure the UK is well positioned to maximise the benefits that flow from free trade agreements with international partners, like that recently signed with Japan, one of the UK’s largest foreign investors.
Minister for Investment Gerry Grimstone said:
“If we are to build back better from this pandemic, we need to refocus and re-double our efforts to attract foreign investment, which will increase productivity, economic growth across the country, boost our exports and better our research and development environment.
“We must sharpen our priorities and transform our investment offer accordingly to meet the demands of a changing global economic outlook – whether that be in greener or increased digitally-led opportunities.
“The Office for Investment will make it easier for international investors by bringing the very best of the UK directly to them.”
Responding to the Government’s announcement it is to establish an Office for Investment, Chief Executive of the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) Victoria Hills said: “While we welcome any initiative that will seek to improve the join-up between public and private sectors and government departments to ensure the right conditions for international investment, we have some concerns that the new Office for Investment will struggle to create the right investment opportunities without good local and strategic plans.
“Planning is not a barrier to investment, rather a facilitator. In our response to the Planning for the Future white paper consultation earlier this month, we have called for Green Growth Boards to deliver joined-up strategies for climate action, infrastructure, housing provision, health and nature recovery. We welcome the opportunity to work with the new Office for Investment going forward.
“Our Plan the World We Need campaign calls for a robust, proactive planning system to help create the place-based solutions to ensure a sustainable, resilient and inclusive post-Covid recovery, attractive to inward investors.”
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