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DIT secures over £16 billion of foreign investment

Department for International Trade brings in over £16 billion in foreign investment since its creation, revitalising UK industries

Wind turbine being constructed in CS Wind's Factory
CS Wind’s factory in Campbelltown, Scotland, one of many sites across the UK where new foreign investment is creating jobs.

The UK’s continued reputation as an attractive place to invest and do business with is helping boost jobs and industry across the country, with new deals worth billions agreed in the last five months.

Since its creation in July, the Department for International Trade (DIT) has helped secure more than £16.3 billion worth of foreign direct investment across the UK in key sectors including property development, infrastructure and renewable energy.

International Trade Secretary Liam Fox said:

Recent major investments show how much the UK is valued as an innovative business-friendly country, and will continue to be as we leave the EU. But the benefits of foreign investment have much more impact for local communities across the UK, transforming local industry, creating jobs and tackling issues like housing and clean energy.

Britain remains truly open for business, that’s why my department is supporting businesses in the UK and across the world to attract investment to boost our economy. Long-term business investments like these are a clear vote of confidence in the UK and our strong economy post-Brexit.

Following a record year for foreign direct investment in 2015/16, when almost 1,600 jobs a week were created through international investments, the new department has helped broker investment safeguarding and creating jobs in sectors from mineral extraction to financial services.

In addition to a series of high profile investments in the UK, with global brands committing to new UK sites, DIT’s work to support new investment often helps the growth of smaller UK firms outside of London:

  • DIT helps to create exporting entrepreneurs – the majority (80%) of businesses the department helps to export abroad has fewer than 250 employees
  • Since 2011, 80% of the 712,000 jobs secured or created through foreign investment were outside of London, proving that foreign investment mostly benefits the UK’s regions

Regenerating local industry

Confirmed just before Christmas, Australian company Peak Resources will boost heavy industry in the Tees Valley with a planned £100 million investment in a new minerals refinery:

  • the investment will also help put the UK at the forefront of electric car development, as the refinery will produce the critical raw materials needed for the electric and hybrid drive motors
  • the company cited the support from DIT and the Tees Valley Combined Authority, as well as the government’s ‘progressive stance on maintaining competitive corporate fiscal regimes’ as a key motive to set up in the UK

Renewable energy

Foreign investment from Denmark’s DONG Energy, also confirmed in December, will boost the UK’s leadership in renewable energy development in a multi-national venture based in Scotland:

  • Campbeltown, Scotland, will build the UK’s first offshore wind towers in a deal involving companies from Denmark, Germany and South Korea securing hundreds of jobs in coming years
  • International Trade Minister Greg Hands met with the companies in South Korea in November to help secure the deal
  • November also saw DONG Energy commit to create 30 skilled jobs in Northwich, Cheshire, with a new £60 million recycling and energy plant able to service 110,000 homes
  • the company plans to invest £12 billion in renewable energy projects in the UK by 2020

Foreign investment in manufacturing also supports jobs with other skills:

  • the 2009 investment by international firm JDR Energy in the UK’s first manufacturing plant for deep-sea cables to supply offshore wind farms has led to other investments as its operations expanded
  • the department recently helped secure a new centre for the company’s global services and sales team, creating 50 jobs


Foreign investment is also tackling the UK’s housing shortage following a recent commitment from Chinese construction firm CNBM which will plough £2.5 billion into the development of 25,000 modular homes in the UK:

  • pre-made homes, costing around 20% less to build then traditional bricks and mortar, will provide an affordable option for potential homeowners, local authorities and housing associations
  • it will also create over 1,000 jobs in six new factories in Scotland, Wales and England with support from the department

Further quotes and case studies

1. Leeds City Region

Leeds City Region Local Enterprise Partnership Chair Roger Marsh OBE said:

Leeds City Region has continued to be a world class destination for foreign investment in 2016. A fact that the EY Attractiveness Survey recognised, finding that over the last 3 years, foreign direct investment has grown at a faster rate here than the country as a whole.

Commitments from global companies such as Perform, the world’s leading digital sports content and media company, internationally recognised broadcaster Sky and consumer credit agency Equifax, have provided not only jobs and regeneration, but a confidence boost for the region.

These achievements are the result of years of strategic relationship building, and the public and private sector working together. They provide a volume and variety of opportunity that simply wouldn’t be possible from domestic market investment alone. 2017 will see us build on this confidence, working closely with partners in key trade and investment markets with the aim of securing good growth and employment.

Case studies:

  • Foreign investment by the world’s leading digital sports content and media company, Perform Group, has created over 100 new jobs in Leeds. The global group, which has 40 offices worldwide and owns the digital rights to over 200 leagues, tournaments and events, considered opening a new global location but realised that the combination of the right people with the right attitude already existed in Leeds. Perform are among a growing number of digital and tech firms recognising the expertise and talent graduating from the region’s 9 universities, and building on the confidence shown by household names including Google and Sky which also have a growing presence in the Leeds.
  • Funded by the Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) and Hermes Real Estate, MEPC’s Wellington Place development is a game changing new business district for Leeds. When complete, over 12,000 will be working and living on the 22 acres of former railway land. The scheme is quickly being recognised for its quality build and environment, as well as its proximity to the North’s busiest train station and the planned HS2 hub. Corporate businesses including German-owned Allianz and US-owned Equifax have taken new space in 2016, and in the last month Sky Betting and Gaming announced plans to expand, taking capacity for 460 new jobs.
  • A joint venture between American-owned Wheelabrator Technologies Inc. and SSE, Multi-Fuel Energy Ltd, is regenerating the former Ferrybridge Power Station plant. Delivering a £300m multi-fuel plant and creating 40 high value jobs, the first phase of the facility is now open and provides low carbon waste-derived energy to 160,000 homes in West Yorkshire.

2. Tees Valley

Tees Valley Local Enterprise Partnership Chair and member of the Tees Valley Combined Authority Board Paul Booth said:

The multi-million pound investments that these international companies have made, and plan to make, in Tees Valley demonstrate that our area has a great deal to offer businesses. With a skilled workforce, access to established supply chains and superb road and rail connections, plus one of the UK’s largest ports, the Tees Valley is demonstrating the UK’s global competitiveness.

Case studies:

  • USA-based Calysta chose Tees Valley as the base for its state-of-the-art agritech manufacturing facility which opened in September 2016. The plant is supported by a conditional Exceptional Regional Growth Fund (EGRF) award and represents a total potential investment of £30 million. When completed, the facility is expected to provide employment for 35 to 40 people.
  • Cubic Transportation Systems opened its UK-based Global Operations Centre (GOC) in Stockton-on-Tees in Tees Valley in September 2016. Aimed at expanding and strengthening the company’s ITS offerings around the world the company cited: “vast base of potential, qualified recruits, further establishing the new operations centre that will build on the company’s already impressive services footprint and help fuel future growth” as a key factor in choosing the location.
  • MGT Power are investing £650 million in a Renewable Energy Plant in Teesside, it will be the largest biomass plant in the UK, producing enough energy to supply 600,000 homes. Green energy projects such as this, which can create hundreds of jobs, are an important step in moving towards a circular economy, where waste and pollution are minimised and re-used, and wealth is kept in the area.

3. DONG Energy, Scotland

DONG Energy’s UK Country Chairman Brent Cheshire said:

The UK is the world leader in offshore wind and a growing market for DONG Energy. We plan to invest £12 billion here by 2020 and this is creating long-term highly-skilled jobs, supporting a thriving UK supply chain and helping the UK continue as a leader in renewable energy.

Recently we announced a multi-million pound investment to help build a new offshore tower manufacturing facility in Scotland, which is the first of this kind in the UK and has resulted in many jobs being safeguarded. And 50% of our Race Bank offshore wind farm off the Norfolk coast has just been divested to Macquarie, underlining how our projects and the UK are seen as an attractive place to invest.

We have placed a number of very significant contracts with UK firms in 2016 right across the country, and expect this to continue in 2017. As a result, the supply chain for offshore wind continues to grow from strength to strength, ranging from offshore foundations to turbine blades, electrical substations to cranes. As well as offshore wind, next year we will also open our brand new waste treatment facility in Northwich that will separate household waste from recyclable materials and generate green energy at the same time.

Published 3 January 2017
Last updated 5 January 2017 + show all updates
  1. Amended to update figure for cost of pre-fabricated housing.
  2. First published.