Foreign direct investment boost for Herts and The East of England

Alfie Brown

The East of England recorded the largest increase in inbound foreign direct investment (FDI) projects out of all parts of the UK in 2020, with the number of overseas-backed schemes in the region rising by 35 per cent, according to the EY 2021 UK Attractiveness Survey.

The region’s strong performance was driven by the digital technology (12 projects in 2020, up from seven in 2019), transport and logistics (ten projects, up from seven) and agri-food (eight projects, up from one) sectors.

The UK as a whole saw project numbers decline by 12 per cent from 1,109 in 2019 to 975 in 2020.

The East of England and the North West (16 per cent) were the only English regions to register double-digit percentage improvements in project numbers from 2019.

Among the region’s towns and cities, Cambridge recorded a 20 per cent annual increase in the number of FDI projects, from ten in 2019 to 12 in 2020. Meanwhile, Peterborough recorded ten projects in 2020, up from just one in 2019.

Stuart Wilkinson, office managing partner at EY in the East of England, said: “The East of England has a diverse regional economy, and some of its sectors have seen an impact from global economic and business shifts linked to Brexit and the pandemic.

“With increasing focus on sectors and activities in which the East of England excels – including logistics and research – the region is one of the best positioned to thrive in a changing economy. It’s not a surprise that the region is much more attractive to investors than it was just two years ago.”