East Midlands lags way behind for foreign investment

The East Midlands has dropped to second-to-last place when it comes to attracting overseas investment, according to new figures.

the latest EY UK Attractiveness Survey shows the region recorded 31 projects in 2023, a 35% decrease on the previous year. This decline marks the second-lowest total of foreign direct investment (FDI) projects for the East Midlands in a decade, causing its share to drop to 3.1% of all UK projects. The East Midlands ranked as the UK’s tenth best performing region in attracting investment.

The East Midlands recorded almost the same number of jobs associated with FDI projects in 2022 as in 2023. The total in 2023 was 2,848, ranking the East Midlands eighth out of twelve UK regions for FDI-associated employment.

By contrast, The West Midlands attracted 127 FDI projects in 2023, its highest total of the last decade.

The West Midlands’ 2023 project total was 72% higher than in 2022 and raised the region’s share of all UK projects to a decade-high 12.9%.

Birmingham was at the forefront of this growth, leading the West Midlands and outperforming all other UK cities outside of London. The city recorded 67 FDI projects in 2023, setting a record for the highest number of projects managed by any city outside the capital in the last ten years.

Simon O’Neill, office managing partner for EY in the Midlands, said: “The West Midlands recorded a meteoric rise in inward investment last year, a clear indicator of the region’s strong economic potential and its growing appeal to international capital.

“Birmingham’s exceptional performance, leading the charge with 67 projects, exemplifies the city’s strategic position as a hub for innovation and business growth. While we celebrate these successes, we remain committed to understanding the challenges faced by the East Midlands and to supporting its efforts to regain momentum in attracting global investment.

“The West Midlands’ success story is not only a win for the region but also a significant contribution to the UK’s position as a prime destination for foreign investment.”

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