Where are the Most Attractive UK Cities for Foreign Investment?
A report published by law firm Irwin Mitchell in partnership with Cebr has ranked the 50 largest UK cities by their ‘current investment attractiveness’.
The report utilises a newly created index based on eight economic indicators from three categories.
These categories include:
- Growth potential,
- Local skills,
- Local infrastructure.
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Best UK Cities for Foreign Investment Outside of London
It may be no surprise that London’s property market dominated the first three placements, but some unexpected cities made it into the top ten.
Brighton was ranked fourth, making it the top spot for international investment outside of London. During 2021-22, the South East had the second-highest number of foreign direct investment projects, suggesting strong interest in the region from overseas businesses.
Brighton, situated on the South East coast, topped the report’s index for growth potential, with the highest number of new businesses being created per 10,000 people during 2021, excluding London.
Fifth place went to Oxford. The city scored strongly for local infrastructure and skills, which isn’t surprising due to the world-class universities, research institutes, and cutting-edge technology companies in the area.
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Greater Manchester is Top Northern City for Foreign Investment
Greater Manchester placed after Oxford in sixth, making it the most attractive city in North England for foreign investment. The city is living up to its Northern Powerhouse image, thanks to its range of industries, skilled workforce, and excellent infrastructure.
Manchester came in fourth when ranked purely on local skills. This makes it an attractive place for investment because of the sizable, economically active population available to be hired. Several local universities also give residents good access to skills development and education.
Manchester’s growth potential also remained in this category’s top half. Many new businesses have been created in the area relative to population size. The city is considered a hub for the country’s digital, creative, and tech industries, with a ‘deeply ingrained culture of entrepreneurship’.
For all these reasons, the city has been listed as one of the most attractive cities for foreign investment in the UK.
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The Future of Foreign Investment in the UK
The final top ten spots went to Birmingham at 7, Edinburgh at 8, Reading in at 9, and Cambridge squeezed into tenth place.
According to the report by Irwin Mitchell, the United Kingdom has a reputation as a ‘favourable and open global destination for investment, offering a robust legal framework and business-friendly environment, despite recent economic and political changes’.
Foreign direct investment in the UK is rising, as activity in 2022 was more substantial than in 2020 and 2021. Investment from overseas into North West real estate is up 20% on pre-pandemic levels, and Manchester’s high ranking on the attractiveness index suggests that this is set to continue.
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