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North West in UK’s top three regions for foreign direct investment projects

The North West’s attractiveness as an investment destination has grown amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and it is now one of the UK’s top three locations for attracting inbound foreign direct investment (FDI) projects, EY’s latest UK Attractiveness Survey has revealed.

The report, published today (June 7) also showed that Manchester was the third best performing city in the UK for attracting FDI.

With 85 projects in 2020, the North West overtook the South East (72) to become the UK’s third largest FDI location, behind Greater London and Scotland.

Last year’s performance was a 16% improvement on 2019 when the region secured 73 projects and meant the North West’s share of UK projects rose from 6.6% to 8.7%. By contrast, European projects were down 13% and UK projects fell by 12%.

Digital technology was the leading sector in the North West in 2020, with 19 projects – down from 23 in 2019 – followed by business services with 11 (11) and machinery and equipment manufacture with seven (up from five).

Projects were most likely to involve sales and service activities (43 projects, up from 37 in 2019), manufacturing (18 projects, up from 14) and research and development (nine projects, up from seven).

Manchester was the third best performing city in the UK for attracting FDI – after London and Edinburgh – with 35 projects during the year.

The city was home to more than 40% of all North West projects in 2020 and it was the only North West location to make the Top 10 UK cities for FDI projects.

Within the region, Liverpool was second placed with eight projects (17th in the UK), while Warrington came third with six projects (18th).