A new report from financial services firm EY found that the West Midlands remained attractive as a place for foreign investment in 2020 – despite Brexit and the global pandemic.
The company’s latest UK Attractiveness Report revealed that there were 61 foreign direct investments (FDI) into the West Midlands in 2020 – down from 4.7 per cent from the 64 achieved in 2019.
Despite the slight decline, the region performed better than the UK overall and secured the fifth highest number of projects – 6.3 per cent – among all UK regions and nations.
Birmingham was the region’s leading location for FDI projects having secured 26 projects in 2020, putting it in fourth position for all UK towns and cities behind London, Edinburgh and Manchester.
While Coventry recorded 10 projects – the 12th highest figure in the country.
The digital technology sector was responsible for 11 projects in the region in 2020 – slightly down on the 13 the previous year.
The next largest sectors were transportation manufacture and supply with nine projects (down from 13), agri-food with seven (up from six), machinery and equipment with seven (down from 13) and business services with four projects (up from three).
Simon O’Neill, office managing partner at EY in the Midlands, said: “Against the backdrop of a global pandemic, the West Midlands delivered a positive year for FDI in 2020.
“The impact of both the pandemic and the UK’s departure from the EU can be seen in how some of the region’s key sectors and activities have performed too, particularly the big increase in logistics projects as businesses in the West Midlands have reacted quickly to the changes around them.”
Overall the UK remained attractive as an investment destination amid the Covid-19 pandemic, with the country ranking second in Europe for total inbound FDI projects in 2020.
In 2020, the UK secured 975 projects (down from 1,109 in 2019), France hosted 985 projects (down from 1,197), Germany ranked third with 930 projects (down from 971) and Spain remained a distant fourth with 354 projects (down from 486).