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Overseas interest in health and digital investment bodes well for the region

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Investor interest in health and wellbeing has increased due to Covid and bodes well for the cluster of life sciences firms in the East of England according to EY’s latest UK Attractiveness Survey. Its survey of overseas investors showed that 41 per cent of respondents deem the ‘quality of the health system’ a more important factor in their investment strategy as a result of Covid, higher than sustainability and climate change. Only the digital sector was seen as a strong driver of growth.

Stuart Wilkinson (photo, right), office managing partner at EY in the East of England, said: “There is clear appetite for further investment in the health and wellbeing sector and the life sciences cluster in the East of England continues to be well-placed to meet this demand.” However, the report found that the share of overseas firms planning to invest in the UK in the next 12 months has fallen to 25 per cent from a ten-year high of 31 per cent in April and over a third had scaled-back their UK foreign direct investment plans. Overall, the survey points to 30-45 per cent fewer foreign direct investment projects in the UK in 2020 than the 1,109 projects recorded in 2019. But just over half of firms said that the attractiveness of the UK will increase over the next three years.

After the digital sector and health and wellbeing, real estate and construction, the consumer sector and the automotive sector are seen as the biggest growth drivers. The changing economic model in major city centres will become key to investment strategies and a country’s ability to deal with Covid is increasingly important.