Monday 27th June 2022
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Foreign direct investment in the region proves ‘resilient’ over the pandemic

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The East of England secured 40 foreign direct investment projects last year, the same number as the pre-pandemic level of 2019 but below the total of 54 attracted to the region in 2020. The key sectors for inward investment across the region were agri-food (seven projects), health, life sciences and social work (seven) and transportation manufacturers and suppliers (seven).

The digital sector, which was the leading sector for investment into the East in three of the last five years, had only six projects in 2021, down from 12 in 2020. But the 40 projects secured in the East was well above the ten-year average of 33.6 and the third highest number of projects in the region in the last decade.  Nationally, the EY 2022 UK Attractiveness Survey showed UK project numbers grew slightly to 993 in 2021, up by 18 on the previous year and the country remains second in the European league table for FDI projects behind France.

Stuart Wilkinson, office managing partner at EY in the East of England, said: “The East of England has proved resilient from an FDI perspective over the course of the pandemic. While 2021 didn’t reach the heights of 2020, FDI in the region has held at pre-pandemic levels and is still historically high. Some of the decline from last year may be down to a decline in digital projects and additional, one-off logistics activity taking place last year as companies responded to the impact of the pandemic.” The leading location for FDI in the East of England was Cambridge (joint 8th largest outside London), which recorded 14 projects, up from 12, while Peterborough ranked joint 19th with 5 projects, down from 10.