Northern Powerhouse attracts foreign investors as record number of projects start in Humber

By Hull Daily Mail | Posted: 11 Jul 2017

Foreign investors continue to see the Northern Powerhouse as an attractive offer, with new figures showing a record number of projects taking off in the Humber region.

The UK last year attracted 2,265 foreign direct investment projects, including 348 in the North East, North West and Yorkshire and the Humber. This led to the creation of nearly 15,000 new jobs.

Figures published this week by the Department for International Trade show US investment led the charge with 577 projects, followed by China, France and India.

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International Trade Secretary, Liam Fox, said: “The North is home to some of our leading and growing businesses in the creative, digital and tech industries and these results highlight the strong offering of the Northern Powerhouse to foreign investors.

“As an international economic department, my department is determined to do all it can to promote the strengths of the North to potential overseas investors and that’s why we set up the Northern Powerhouse Investment Taskforce.”

The figures echo those released last month by EY, which uncovered 98 FDI projects across the Yorkshire region as a whole in 2016, eight of which were in the Humber.

INVESTING IN TECHNOLOGY: The technology behind Solar 21's biomass plant being manufactured at CF Struthers' factory off Hedon Road, Hull.

Kate Woolhouse

Locally, the surge in investments was led by manufacturing projects, including the expansion of Siemens Gamesa’s turbine plant at Green Port Hull, new warehousing for DPD in Goole, a new state-of-the-art factory for laser technology firm Rofin Sinar in Hessle, and Solar 21’s biomass power plant in Tansterne.

Suzanne Robinson, EY’s regional senior partner, led the research.

She said: “The work that has taken place to position the whole of Yorkshire and Humberside as a strong investment location in the global marketplace is starting to pay off.

“These figures show that the international investment community has seen the potential in the region, with its access to the right skills, infrastructure and strong supply chain networks.

“Manufacturing in particular has seen strong growth in this region. This is not just from factories; the Yorkshire and Humber region attracted four HQs, four logistics facilities, three testing centres and two training centres in 2016, demonstrating the strength and diversity of skills available in this region to foreign investors.”

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But while the figures paint a rosy picture for future growth, more than half (51 per cent) of the projects were announced before the EU Referendum vote in June, fuelling fears leaving the European Union could hamper the UK’s economic prospects.

Mark Gregory, EY’s chief economist says: “Decisions on the majority of investments made in 2016 would have been made up to three years ago, which helps to explain Yorkshire’s – and the wider UK’s – solid performance last year, but signs of a slowdown are on the horizon.”



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