Foreign direct investment declines in Liverpool despite a 17% surge across the North West

Disappointing figures come on the eve of Liverpool’s third International Business Festival, welcoming 27,000 people and 100 international delegations to the city from Tuesday. Tony McDonough reports

Liverpool Waterfront
Liverpool saw a decline in the number of foreign direct investments. Picture by Tony McDonough

 

Liverpool is lagging behind a number of UK cites when it comes to inward investment for overseas – coming 17th in the latest league table.

Analysis by accountancy firm EY showed Liverpool received nine foreign direct investments (FDIs) in 2017 – one less than in 2016.

This is despite the North West as a whole seeing a 17% increase to FDIs, from 90 to 105 in 2017, with Manchester the best performing city with 45 FDIs, one more than during the previous year.

Festival launch

The disappointing figures come on the eve of Liverpool’s third International Business Festival, welcoming 27,000 people and 100 international delegations over three weeks to Exhibition Centre Liverpool. The festival focuses on both exports and FDIs.

Liverpool lags behind larger cities such as London, Leeds and Birmingham but also smaller locations such as Coventry, Barnsley and Reading. Warrington fared much better in the league table, coming joint 13th, and saw a big surge in FDIs in 2017 to 10, from just two in 2016.

The number of jobs secured by investments in the North West region in 2017 has more than doubled compared to the previous year (from 3,498 to 7,035) and marks the highest number of jobs secured in the region this decade.

Leading sectors

The leading sector in the North West in 2017 was digital – also the leading sector for the UK as a whole. Digital projects across the region accounted for 19 projects in 2017 – a rise of 19% on 2016.

The second most popular sector in the North West was business services, with 13 projects in 2017. Although, in 2017 business services saw a decline of 32% compared to 2016 when 19 projects were recorded from the sector.

International stage

Bob Ward, managing partner at EY in the North West, said: “While Manchester’s inward investment figures stand out head and shoulders above all other cities outside London, the fact that Liverpool, Warrington and Salford also make the top 20 as significant locations attracting serious inward investment is also a major cause for celebration.

“The Northern Powerhouse message is one that plays well on the international stage and the North West, along with our near neighbours in Yorkshire and the North East, is seeing that translate into record levels of investment across a broad spectrum of sectors and importantly into jobs.

Top 20 UK cities/towns for FDI in 2016 and 2017

Ranking

UK City/Town

2017 Projects

2016 Projects

% Change 2016–17

1

London

459

439

4.5%

2

Manchester

45

44

2.3%

3

Edinburgh

29

20

45%

4

Birmingham

21

32

-34%

5

Leeds

19

16

18.8%%

6=

Coventry

16

10

60%

6=

Glasgow

16

27

-40.7%

8=

Cambridge

14

7

100%

8=

Aberdeen

14

16

-12.5%

8=

Oxford

14

8

75%

11=

Bristol

13

14

-7.1%

11=

Newcastle upon Tyne

13

15

-13.3%

13=

Barnsley

10

11

-9.1%

13=

Belfast

10

29

-65.5%

13=

Reading

10

9

11.1%

13=

Warrington

10

2

400%

17

Liverpool

9

10

-10%

18=

Gateshead

7

8

-12.5%

18=

Solihull

7

5

40%

20=

Doncaster

6

6

0%

20=

Hull

6

1

500%

20=

Livingston

6

2

200%

20=

Nottingham

6

1

500%

20=

Salford

6

10

-40%

20=

Sheffield

6

3

100%

20=

Sunderland

6

4

50%

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