EY 2018 Attractiveness Survey - Leeds named in the top five destinations for foreign direct investment

11 June 2018

Leeds has been named the fifth best performing city in the UK for attracting foreign direct investment (FDI) according to the EY 2018 Attractiveness Survey. The city which had 19 FDI projects selecting the city in 2017 was responsible for almost a quarter (23%) of all projects locating in Yorkshire & Humber last year.

In 2017, Yorkshire & Humber recorded 80 inward investment projects, with the region maintained this high level of inward investment over the past three years, attracting 80 projects or more. Prior to 2015 the region struggled to secure more than 50 projects in the last decade.

According to EY's annual publication, the number of jobs created by overseas investors into Yorkshire & Humber has increased by 14% compared to the previous year (from 4,988 in 2016 to 5,665 in 2017) and marks the highest number of jobs secured in the region over the last decade.

Leeds continued to dominate Yorkshire & Humber in terms of attracting FDI with 19 projects in 2017, up by 18.8% on 2016.

The largest number of projects recorded in the Yorkshire & Humber region were in manufacturing. The sector saw 38 projects attracted to the region, representing 46% of the total number of investment projects in 2017 (up from 40% in 2016).

In the UK as a whole, the sector generating the largest number of projects was digital. In Yorkshire & Humber, digital accounted for six projects in 2017 a rise of 14% on 2016.

Kersten England chief executive of Bradford MDC and Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) lead chief executive for business, innovation and growth, said: "This year's results reflect the continued confidence of Yorkshire and the Humber region. In particular it's fantastic to see one or our traditional strengths manufacturing performing well with an increase of foreign direct investment projects which are driving significant growth.

"I'm also pleased that the City Region is building on these investment figures which represent January to December 2017 and has already seen a strong start to the year. To date we have seen a number of global firms announce investments in the region including Perform Group, Hudl, Sandstone Technology and Reed Smith. In addition the region has a strong pipeline of projects coming forward.

"The region is also attracting a number of national businesses to invest in the region, which are not included in these figures, in particular 2017 saw Burberry announce the creation of 300 jobs in the region with the launch of its new business service centre."


Suzanne Robinson, Managing Partner at EY in Yorkshire said: "These figures are great news for Yorkshire not only is Leeds one of the top five cities for inward investment in the UK, but the region has a total of five towns and cities in the top 20. Furthermore, while Knottingley and Rossington did not make the ranking in terms of volume of investment deals, they too have seen sizeable and significant investment, winning projects that have resulted in nearly 2,000 jobs for the local area.

"The fact that 46% of investments came from manufacturing related industries does not surprise me given it is a particular strength for this region and a sector where we already have a solid footprint. However, I'm also heartened by the breadth of activity type across the investments from sales and marketing to logistics to digital a sector which in particular saw an increase in activity on last year."