UK sees record number of foreign investment projects

Union Jack flags on Oxford Street Image copyright Getty Images

A record number of investments were made by foreign firms in the UK in the year to April 2016, according to government figures.

The Department for International Trade recorded 2,213 inward investment projects, up 11% on the previous year.

The data shows the UK is the most popular destination in the European Union for overseas firms.

However, there is concern over how the UK's vote to leave the EU may affect future investment decisions.

Commenting on the figures, International Trade Secretary Liam Fox said: "These impressive results show the UK continues to be the place to do business.

"We've broadened our reach with emerging markets across the world to cement our position as the number one destination in Europe for investment."

The report suggested that 116,000 jobs were created or safeguarded by overseas investment last year.

The US remains the biggest source of inward investment, accounting for 570 projects, followed by China with 156 and India with 140.

Future deals

Simon French, chief economist for Panmure Gordon said attractive tax rates, the use of English, a reliable legal system, and Britain's membership of the European Union were factors that have made the UK an attractive location for foreign investors.

"What will be far more important than Brexit will be whether the political forces that shaped the vote to leave also put pressure on the UK to be a more closed/protectionist nation. This would have much larger (negative) ramifications for future inward investment flows," he said.

The current financial year has already seen one high profile foreign deal, with the purchase of UK computer chip designer ARM Holdings by Japan's Softbank for £24bn.

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