Scotland solidifies position as top destination for foreign direct investment outside London

Scotland solidifies position as top destination for foreign direct investment outside London

Adrian Gillespie

Scotland has asserted itself as the top UK location outside London for foreign direct investment (FDI), according to the latest Scotland Attractiveness Survey by EY.

The figures reveal that in 2022, Scotland secured a record 126 FDI projects, marking a 3.3% increase from the 122 projects attracted in 2021. Consequently, Scotland’s share of the total inward investment projects by the UK rose from 12.3% in 2021 to 13.6% in 2022.

The EY survey further reports that nearly one-fifth of investors (19.2%) are considering establishing or expanding operations in Scotland, underscoring the nation’s appeal to international investors. Scottish Development International (SDI) corroborates this trend, stating that over 8,500 planned jobs paying a real living wage have been produced by inward investment for the 2022/23 financial year, the highest since 2018/19.

Adrian Gillespie, chief executive of Scottish Enterprise, ascribed this success to Scotland’s dynamic business environment, including its highly skilled workforce, world-class universities, innovation districts, and quality of life.

Mr Gillespie said: “For Scotland to once again be the most attractive location in the UK outside of London for FDI projects is a fantastic achievement that will further enhance our growing global reputation.

“As an internationally focused innovation and investment agency, Scottish Enterprise and our global SDI colleagues will continue to work with our team Scotland partners to promote the very best our country has to offer to international companies and investors.”

Vicky Grant, head of international trade and investment at Highland and Islands Enterprise, added: “It’s great to see the Highlands and Islands continue to make a huge contribution to Scotland’s overall success and attractiveness for foreign direct investment.

“In addition to the outstanding quality of life available here, our region offers expertise across sectors such as space, energy, food and drink and health tech, as well as excellent infrastructure and connectivity.”

Jane Morrison-Ross, chief executive of South of Scotland Enterprise, echoed the commitment to build on the positive survey results, stressing on the natural economy, job sustainability, and local community wellbeing.

Marion Beattie, head of skills growth and inward investment at Skills Development Scotland, stressed the importance of a responsive learning system for potential inward investors, emphasising the organisation’s commitment to maintaining Scotland’s investment attraction.

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