A record number of investments were made by foreign firms in the UK in the year to April 2016, according to Government figures.
The Department for International Trade recorded 2,213 inward investment projects, up 11% on the previous year, the BBC reported overnight. The data shows the UK was the most popular destination in the European Union for overseas firms. However, it said, concerns remained over how the UK’s vote to leave the EU might affect future investment.
International Trade Secretary Liam Fox said: “These impressive results show the UK continues to be the place to do business. We’ve broadened our reach with emerging markets across the world to cement our position as the number one destination in Europe for investment.” Among the attractions cited for investing in the UK were attractive tax rates, the use of English, a reliable legal system and Britain’s membership of the EU.
Scott Knowles, Chief Executive of East Midlands Chamber*, said: “These figures for the first three months of this year are extremely positive, show confidence in UK plc and were achieved despite the imminence of the EU Referendum. “The second quarter’s figures might be less positive as they will include the final weeks before the referendum, but the third and fourth quarter figures will be the real tell as they will include the three months immediately after the referendum and then the three months beyond that when the dust began to settle following the Brexit vote.
“I would expect a slight dip in the second and third quarters and then some stabilisation for the fourth quarter, but although we might get some interim indication we won’t know those results until the end of November, February and May respectively. The UK being a great place in which to invest isn’t governed solely by membership of the EU. But to maintain the attraction, the Government needs to ensure it has policies in place post-Brexit, such as low corporation tax, sensible business rates, low employment costs and workable and mutually beneficial trade agreements with the EU and the rest of the world. And that will be achieved only if business is included at all levels of Brexit talks.”