Foreign direct investment (FDI) results in Scotland strongly outperform the UK as a whole.
Scotland recorded a 14% increase in Foreign Direct Investment projects in 2021, according to Ernst & Young’s (EY) latest Annual Attractiveness Survey results.
FDI or inward investment (which includes investment from the rest of the UK into Scotland) is when a company or institution headquartered outside of Scotland establishes a base of operations here, creating jobs, economic opportunities and associated capital investment.
Figures published today show this significant level of investment is compared to an increase in FDI of only 1.8% across the UK and 5.4% across Europe.
The latest survey results show Scotland’s perceived attractiveness to investors now sits at a record high, with 15.8% of investors rating it as the UK’s most attractive location, up from 15% last year and more than doubling its rating from the pre-pandemic period (7% in 2019).
Other key findings from the survey results include:
Digital projects in Scotland rose by 73.4%, in contrast to a 7% decline in Europe and 7% growth in the UK overall.
Scotland performed strongly in high-value, high-growth industries like digital and utilities alongside a rebound in manufacturing FDI. The four leading sectors were digital technology (33 projects), utility supply (18 projects), business and professional services (14 projects), and machinery and equipment (14 projects).
Three Scottish cities, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen remain in the Top 10 locations outside of London for attracting inward investment projects. Edinburgh alongside Manchester is ranked equal first; Dundee and Livingston also make the Top 20.
Kenneth Gibson MSP said:
“It is great to see Scotland consistently leading the UK when it comes to securing Foreign Direct Investment, in spite of the significant challenges posed by Brexit and the pandemic. It’s a huge vote of confidence in our skills base, and our highly qualified workforce.
“Scotland has now been the most successful UK nation or region outside of London, for 9 of the last 11 years and for the 7th year running, in attracting FDI.
“These results show the benefit of having great people and resources, but also of the SNP Government’s values-led approach set out in our Inward Investment Plan.”
Ally Scott, Head of Strategy and Transactions and Managing Partner at EY Scotland, said:
"With investment intentions into the UK at a record high, there’s every prospect of Scotland winning a proportion of a resilient pipeline of investments in the coming months and years."
The EY Scotland Attractiveness Survey 2021 can be viewed here.