North East Cities Named as Top Destination for Overseas Investors
Newcastle, Gateshead and Sunderland have been named in a top 20 list for FDI, but investment has fallen overall. Newcastle, Gateshead and Sunderland have all been named in a list of the top UK towns and cities for attracting foreign direct investment (FDI), despite seeing fewer projects than last year. Last year Newcastle managed to attract 13 FDI projects, ranking it joint 11th in the country. Gateshead ranked joint 18th with seven projects, while Sunderland came in at joint 20th with six projects.
Despite the three North East’s strong performance on the list, the number of FDI projects recorded in the region fell by 8%, from 52 in 2016 to 48 in 2017. The figure is still the second highest recorded in the last decade, and is well above the 10-year average of 36 projects. But according to EY’s 2018 UK Attractiveness Survey, the number of jobs generated by inward investment fell from 3,148 to just 1,458. The figure is the second lowest number of jobs secured by the region this decade.
Sandra Thompson, managing partner at EY’s North East office, believes that the region has an opportunity to attract more overseas investment when it hosts the Great Exhibition of the North this summer.
Ms Thompson said: “Over the last three years there has been a significant and consistent shift in the number of inward investment projects in the North East, with 48 projects landing in 2017 – the second highest recorded in the decade. I’m confident that we will continue to see the region’s fortunes continue along this trajectory.
“The fact that Newcastle will be hosting the Great Exhibition of the North this year – the largest event in England in 2018 – showcasing the best of the North, from our industrial heritage through to the digital age, and will firmly put the spotlight on this region and the whole of the North.
“The economic benefits from hosting such a high profile event should not be underestimated – both its immediate impact and its afterglow. It will showcase what this region can offer and will be a catalyst for further inward investment.” Digital projects are becoming a major focus for foreign investors, with the number of projects increasing by 33% across Europe. The UK’s digital projects only increased by 22%, and despite the North East’s focus on the tech sector the number of projects in the region suffered a decline.
Ms Thompson added: “The North East’s digital sector is making waves with its world class innovation, so it’s disappointing to see the region hasn’t attracted as much investment in the sector compared to the wider UK. This year, EY partnered with Tech Nation to launch the Northern Digital Jobs Strategy, a plan to eradicate the North’s digital skills crisis. The report includes the creation of a regional digital skills network across the North – including in the North East – to ensure that our region has some of the best tech talent in the country.”