Partnerships crucial to investment projects’ success

Partnerships are central to the success of the UK’s investment projects, a senior civil servant has said.

Tim Newns, the director for levelling-up at the Office for Investment, was speaking at a “Team UK” event at international property event MIPIM.

The former chief executive of Manchester’s inward investment agency MIDAS acknowledged the “challenging” times, and said: “We know there are some headwinds, but the UK does continue to prosper.

“In 2022 there were almost 1,600 investment projects coming into the UK, 900 of which were from new investors, and they created over 84,000 jobs and that really is driving the market across all of the regions and nations of the UK.”

Tim Newns, Office for Investment

Newns said some of the projects being showcased were “really, really exciting”, including the potential of Belfast’s city centre living offer, the innovation prospectus from Liverpool, Manchester’s innovation district, and Newcastle’s Forth Yards.

He said: “All of those different projects are fundamentally based on partnerships – and partnerships between the public, private and, most of them, the academic sector as well. That really confirms the importance of partnership across everything that we do, whether it’s national government, to local government, private sector, academic sector. We are much, much stronger together.”

Newns took the opportunity to highlight some of the ways the UK Government has sought to support the private sector’s ambitions.

“Government, in terms of us playing our part, are looking at a number of different proposals to try and help the economy move forward and to help real estate as well,” he said.

“Some of that is around things like the Business Industry Supercharger, which has taken our 300 largest energy users in terms of industry and capping the costs that they have to pay in the UK to make us more competitive. Most of those are regionally-based and real drivers of growth in those places.

“We’ve seen freeports – the two most recent green freeports in Scotland, but also our eight freeports across England as well.

“We’ve also seen some of the pension fund reform and how that will create opportunities around lifts [long-term investment for technology and science] and that should release up to £100bn of pension fund money back into the UK economy as an investment opportunity.

“And there’s a £20bn innovation fund, of which over 55% will be spent outside the Golden Triangle and that will provide massive, massive opportunities for regional places and nations to drive an innovation-led regeneration agenda, which is incredibly exciting.”

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