Investors continue to look to Yorkshire
Despite the disruption caused by Covid over the last 12 months, Yorkshire remains an attractive destination for international investment according to the the latest UK Attractiveness Survey by EY.
Yorkshire and the Humber retained its place as the sixth most popular destination in the UK having secured 55 FDI projects in 2020. This was down on the 59 projects it secured in 2019 marking a 6.8% decrease. In comparison FDI projects into the UK as a whole fell by 12% meaning the region actually grew its share of the UK market.
The latest rankings place the region behind Greater London, Scotland, the North West, South East and West Midlands, with only the North West and Scotland in that list not seeing a decline in FDI projects over the last 12 months.
The region attracted investment from a range of sectors, with the machinery and equipment being the leading sector followed by utility supply, agri-food, electronics and IT, pharmaceuticals sectors, and the lastly digital technology.
Within the region Leeds continues its strong performance sitting comfortably insider the top 10 best performing cities in the UK, placing seventh, while Sheffield sits in joint 15th.Suzanne Robinson, EY’s Yorkshire managing partner, said: “Yorkshire might not be at the top of the performance tables but I’m heartened by these results. They show the region is holding steady and mirror what I’m seeing across the local market – business resilience and optimism about the opportunities for future growth here.
“It’s surprising that digital was not one of the key drivers for inward investment projects in the region last year – we know it’s a sector with significant growth potential for Yorkshire.”
Robinson added that the UK’s ‘levelling up’ message had landed effectively with investors, noting that “almost two-thirds [of those investors surveyed were] aware of the policy.
She also explained there is scope to build on the foundations of the levelling up agenda stating that almost half of investors spoken to were planning to change their supply chains in future and a fifth considering reshoring to the UK. Equally opportunities in both the manufacturing and logistics sectors could create opportunities outside of London and major cities could provide “a one-off opportunity to reshape the UK’s economic geography”.Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire commented on the results: “As Mayor of West Yorkshire I know what a brilliant place it is to live, work, invest and set up a business. This survey allows us to celebrate where we are doing well – in artificial intelligence and healthtech for example – whilst showing us the opportunities for growth.
“Brexit and COVID-19 brought their challenges, but I hope my manifesto commitments on skills, digital, better transport, creativity and support for business will help us become an even greater magnet for FDI in the future.”Roger Marsh OBE DL, chair of the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership and NP11 group of Northern local enterprise partnerships added: “The results released today are testament to the resilience of Yorkshire and Humber in attracting foreign direct investment, with the region increasing its market share and not experiencing the dip that other parts of the country have.”
“West Yorkshire and the wider Leeds City Region are the driving force for this resilience. Our broad based economy and sector strengths in business and professional services, health and life sciences and advanced manufacturing – as we saw in 2008 this makes us resilient in periods of economic downturn.”
“The unprecedented year we have experienced means that more people are now working from home. This has impacted the towns and cities who thrive off the back of a buoyant office market. Many investment decisions have been on hold with large corporations now shuffling their portfolios and property locations.”
“Across West Yorkshire, over the past year we have seen a shift from office based investment enquiries to industrial but must now focus on getting the vibrant city centre office market back to business.”
“Our region has shown adaptability in attracting investment and I look forward to showcasing more investment wins in the months ahead.”