Scotland Leading UK on Investment

Browse By

Outperforming UK on Foreign Direct Investment

Scotland has recorded a 14% increase in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) projects in 2021, according to Ernst & Young’s (EY) latest Annual Attractiveness Survey results.

Figures published today show this significant level of investment is compared to an increase in FDI of 1.8% across the UK and 5.4% across Europe.

FDI or inward investment (which includes investment from the rest of the UK into Scotland) involves a company or institution headquartered outside of Scotland that establishes a base of operations within Scotland – creating jobs, economic opportunities and associated capital investment.

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 FDI 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:

  • Three Scottish cities – Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen – remain in the Top 10 locations outside of London for attracting inward investment projects. Edinburgh is ranked equal first alongside Manchester; Dundee and Livingston also make the Top 20.
  • 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).
  • Digital projects in Scotland rose by 73.4%, in contrast to a 7% decline in Europe and 7% growth in the UK overall. Scotland is now firmly established as the UK’s number two location for digital projects behind London.

– Graeme 

These latest figures are excellent news for all of Scotland.

They underline the fundamental strength of our economy and the skills of our population – here in Angus and the length and breadth of the country.

They are also a clear indication that the Scottish Government’s strategy is the right one, and of the key role of inward investment.

Particularly remarkable is the 73.4% increase in digital projects – an order of magnitude higher than that seen across the UK as a whole.

– Scottish Government Trade Minister, Ivan McKee

It is great to see these latest results, which show Scotland leading the UK when it comes to securing Foreign Direct Investment, in spite of the significant challenges posed by Brexit and the pandemic. That is testament to our skills base, and our highly qualified workforce.

We have been the most successful nation or region in the UK, outside of London, for 9 of the last 11 years and for the 7th year running, in attracting FDI.

These results indicate that our values-led approach to investment, set out in our Inward Investment Plan, is delivering and underline the important ongoing contribution of inward investment to the recently published National Strategy for Economic Transformation.

It is critically important that we continue to work closely with inward investors by offering our unique Team Scotland approach to support an inclusive and wellbeing economy, as we strive to meet our goal of being net zero by 2045.