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Trends in Foreign Direct Investment in the UK's Towns

This report by EY, in association with Centre for Towns, reveals the stark and deepening disparity of foreign direct investment (FDI) flows into the UK. The largest cities are attracting an ever-greater share of inward investment with little signs of spill-over benefit into the surrounding areas.
Key points include:
  • 59 percent of all FDI went to the 12 core cities in 2018, compared to less than a third (31 percent) in 1997
  • 20 years of static FDI leaves small to medium towns and rural communities falling way below the scale of investment across core cities
  • University and ex-industrial towns saw a 50 percent fall in manufacturing FDI projects in 2018
  • UK policy making must put towns and communities at the centre of its industrial strategy and deliver on infrastructure promises.

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Mark Gregory
Chief Economist, UK & Ireland

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