Scotland enjoys record-breaking year of FDI and retains top region status

2015 was a record-breaking year of foreign direct investment (FDI) in Scotland, according to the latest annual survey published today by EY.

Paul Lewis


The 2016 EY Scotland Attractiveness Survey shows that Scotland has retained its position as the top location in the UK outside London for foreign direct investment, and highlights a record level of investment projects won by Scotland; figures show that total FDI projects are up by 51% and job creation up 52% in 2015.

2015 was also a record year for Scotland in attracting R&D inward investment; with 23 individual projects, up from 17 in 2014 Scotland is now the top UK region for R&D projects.

Notably, Scotland’s share of FDI projects within the UK is also on the increase; in 2015 Scotland won 11.2% of all FDI projects into the UK, up from 5.9% in 2005. In terms of projects secured, Scotland has three cities represented in the UK top 10, with Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen featuring in third, sixth and tenth place respectively.

Commenting on the survey, Paul Lewis, Managing Director of Scottish Development International, said: “This is a tremendous achievement for Scotland in what continues to be a challenging and highly competitive inward investment market. This record year reflects the excellent work of all of our staff around the world and of our partners and networks who work with us in promoting Scotland as a highly competitive international business location. 

“In particular, the R&D results illustrate increasing investor confidence in Scotland as a world leader in science and technology delivering high value investment which will help to drive Scotland’s sustainable economic growth.

“It’s great to see that in addition to retaining the number one position in the UK outside London, Scotland also appears to be widening the gap, with our market share of FDI almost doubling in the last decade. We are fully focused on maintaining this position and are committed to expanding our global reach. 

“Through our international network of offices, we continue to promote Scotland as a country which is brilliantly connected for business, in sectors such as technology, life-sciences and financial services where Scotland is internationally competitive. This survey is evidence that investors are in agreement; they see Scotland as the best-placed region for investment in R&D, in job creation and for connections to markets and high quality supply chains.” 

In terms of geographical source of FDI projects, the top five countries investing in Scotland in 2015 were the US (43 projects / 36%), France (14 projects / 12%), Germany (8 projects / 7%), Norway (6 projects / 5%) and Canada (5 projects / 4%).

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