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Record Inward Investment Secured - More businesses invest in Scotland

11th July 2024

A record number of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) projects were secured in 2023 in Scotland.

According to EY's annual independent analysis of inward investment, 142 FDI projects were secured last year, an increase of 12.7% on 2022 and double the rate of growth experienced across the UK.

Scotland’s share of UK FDI projects increased for a fifth year in a row to 14.4%. Investor perception of Scotland also increased, with 26% of potential investors surveyed by EY saying they were planning to invest in Scotland - up from 19.2% in 2022. Seizing opportunities presented by new technology and accessing skills were among the main reasons given for establishing or expanding operations.

The performance underpins Scotland’s position as the top performing area of the UK outside of London – for a ninth consecutive year.

Welcoming the results, Deputy First Minister and Economy Secretary Kate Forbes said:

"Attracting inward investment is critical to economic growth and driving forward strategic objectives in key sectors.

“These results show a record performance, with Scotland once again outpacing the UK as a whole and the European Union when it comes to securing Foreign Direct Investment projects, delivering on the actions and priorities we have set out in Government.

“From being at the forefront of the energy transition to the rapidly emerging cutting-edge technologies, we have an enormous opportunity to capitalise even further. We will continue to work with our economic development agencies as part of a “Team Scotland" approach to attracting foreign direct investment and bringing more high quality jobs across Scotland.”

Managing Director of Energy Transition and International Operations at Scottish Enterprise Reuben Aitken said:

“Today’s fantastic EY results are testament to Scotland’s attractiveness to businesses from around the world.

“We’ve seen a fifth consecutive year of growth in FDI and we’re the top destination for FDI outside London with more global businesses making Scotland their home and scaling up their operations here. This growth is driven by the deep partnerships that my team in Scotland and overseas build with investors leveraging our Team Scotland approach.

“It’s great to see utility supply as the top sector for FDI into Scotland last year. This chimes with our focused strategy which identifies the Energy Transition as one of three areas central to transforming Scotland's economy, creating quality jobs and accelerating our path to net zero.”

Chief Executive of South of Scotland Enterprise Jane Morrison-Ross said:

“The latest EY survey results showcase again that Scotland is an incredibly attractive country to invest in.

“In the South, we have our Net Zero Investment Guide, the new Invest in South Scotland website, our just launched Chapelcross Energy Transition Zone and we are Scotland’s national Natural Capital Innovation Zone.

“SOSE share the ambition of our Team Scotland partners to make Scotland, and the South of Scotland, the place to invest in, to innovate in and to live.

“We will achieve this by continued collaboration and by focusing on our economy, environment and communities – people, prosperity and place. Our natural economy, our innovative, skilled people and our natural capital are unique and a fantastic asset to any investor looking for the optimum place to be.”