EY Attractiveness Survey 2019

Scotland is yet again the UK's most successful location for FDI outside London, reports the EY’s Attractiveness Survey 2019.

Scotland remains the UK's most attractive location for foreign direct investment (FDI) after London - a position it has held for six years out of the past seven, according to EY’s Attractiveness Survey, Scotland, 2019.

Highlighting a continuing trend, the survey shows that Scotland remains a prime location for international companies considering foreign investment and expansion amid UK/Europe-wide challenges:

  • Scotland is second only to London in attracting new projects
  • Financial services investment in Scotland remains highest outside London
  • Scotland's attractiveness to new and existing investors doubles
  • Three Scottish cities – Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen – feature in the top ten cities outside London for FDI
  • Sectors generating the highest number of inward investment projects are:
    • Digital
    • Business services
    • Machinery and equipment

The survey is designed to examine the evolving performance and perceptions of Scotland as a destination for foreign investment.

Scotland's 'resilient' performance

FDI is hugely important to Scotland and it remains a vital source of capability, economic activity and jobs. Scotland's ability to attract FDI proves that its assets continue to shine through on a global scale.

Global investors' perception of Scotland as the most attractive location in the UK to invest, has more than doubled, according to the survey.

Scotland secured 94 inward investment projects last year, with international investors attributing a number of strengths that give Scotland the edge over other UK and foreign investors.

"Make no mistake - this is picture of a resilient Scotland standing tall in a challenging UK-wide environment to secure inward investment, set against an unsettled European economic landscape," said EY Scotland's Ally Scott.

Top countries for FDI in Scotland

The survey found that the US, Germany and Switzerland (joint second), and Norway lead the way in investment in Scotland.

A talented workforce, diverse local businesses and suppliers, together with technology, transport and telecommunications are just some of the huge draws for international companies that make Scotland such a great choice.

While the US continues to contribute the most Scottish projects of any country, there are some interesting shifts lower down the ranking with Danish, German, Swiss and Japanese projects all increasing.

Scotland's collaborative approach

Paul Lewis, managing director of Scottish Development International said:

"The latest EY Scotland Attractiveness Survey highlights Scotland’s enduring ability to attract global investment. The country remains second only to London for projects secured for the sixth year in seven – a great achievement given the intense competition for inward investment."

He summed up: "Scotland’s public, private and academic institutions must continue to collaborate and build on the country’s reputation and international connections. This will help attract even more inward investment and consolidate Scotland’s position as a location of choice for global investors."

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