Record-breaking year for foreign direct investment

Scotland retains top UK region status outside London for foreign direct investment.

2016 was a record-breaking year of foreign direct investment (FDI) in Scotland, according to the latest annual survey into FDI attractiveness published today by Ernst and Young.

The 2017 EY Scotland Attractiveness Survey shows that Scotland has retained its position as the top location in the UK outside London for foreign direct investment (FDI), with investment projects up 2.5% on 2015.

As well as highlighting the record level of investment projects won by Scotland, the report also notes that Scotland now takes over one in 50 of all investment projects in Europe; a clear indication that Scotland is now firmly established as a location of choice for global investors.

2016 was also a strong year for Scotland in attracting research and development inward investment; with 21 individual projects, Scotland has retained its position as number one in the UK for R&D projects.

In terms of projects secured, Scotland has three cities represented in the UK top 10, with Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen featuring in fifth, sixth and seventh place respectively.

Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Jobs and Fair Work Keith Brown said:

“These figures from Ernst & Young confirm that 2016 was a record breaking year for foreign direct investment into Scotland. For the second year in a row we have attracted more projects than ever before – with 2016 up 2.5% on 2015’s previous record – and Scotland has been the top UK region outside London in every one of the past five years.

“The statistics not only confirm Scotland’s position as the top UK region outside London for foreign direct investment, but highlight the underlying strengths of the Scottish economy. We enjoy resources few nations can match, including one of the most highly-educated workforces in Europe, a long-standing reputation for innovation and an internationally-regarded brand.

“Today’s attractiveness survey indicates these assets continue to be recognised on the world stage, with a substantial number of projects from the US, France and Germany. In fact, more than one in 50 of the investment projects across the whole of Europe are located in Scotland.

“We will continue to support the Scottish economy. And we will never fail to highlight, wherever and whenever we can, Scotland’s wealth of resources – the economic strengths that today’s figures show have proved attractive to companies from all over the world.”

Paul Lewis, Managing Director of Scottish Development International, said:

“Scotland has a great track record as a location which holds tremendous appeal to international investors, so it’s heartening to see that position reinforced by the new EY survey, and it’s particularly welcome to hear that Scotland now wins over one in 50 of all investment projects into Europe.

“In a highly competitive inward investment market, this is a huge indicator of Scotland’s global attractiveness and investment performance.

“Through our international network, we continue to promote Scotland as a country which is brilliantly connected for business, and these results reflect the strong partnerships with those who  work with us in promoting Scotland as a highly competitive international business location.

“We now have an opportunity to build on Scotland’s  international reach and the connections that exist across many parts of our economy, to attract even more new inward investment to the country.”

In terms of geographical source of FDI projects, the top five countries investing in Scotland in 2016 were the US (43 projects / 35%), France (14 projects / 11%), Germany (7 projects / 6%), Ireland (6 projects / 5%) and China (5 projects / 4%).


Notes to Editors:

The full report from EY is available at


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