Scotland extends a warm welcome to both dollars and euros as accepted currencies

Foreign companies investing in Scotland are playing a significant role in generating and maintaining jobs, making a positive impact on the robustness of the Scottish economy.

According to the annual survey conducted by business consultancy EY, Scotland retains its position as the most appealing location in the UK, outside of London, for foreign direct investment (FDI).

While not overtaking London, Scotland has consistently secured a strong second place in the surveys, steadily increasing its market share over the past four years. In fact, Scotland has been ranked second in nine out of the past ten surveys.

EY’s analysis revealed a total of 126 inward investment projects, representing almost 14% of all foreign direct investment (FDI) projects, which is the highest recorded to date. Among industry experts surveyed in the FDI field, 11% identified Scotland as their preferred choice in the UK.

While still significantly behind London and slightly lower than last year’s 15.8% figure, Scotland maintains a solid second position.

While FDI projects in Scotland experienced growth, the UK as a whole witnessed a 6% decline, and the European Union only saw a marginal 1% increase. However, the positive outlook suggests that further investment may be directed towards Scotland.

Scotland has received promising news as a record-breaking 19.2% of global inward investors, placing second only to London, have expressed their desire to establish or expand their operations in the country. This signifies a strong interest and positive outlook for Scotland’s business environment and potential for growth.

When examining at the city level, Scotland continues to excel, with Edinburgh, Glasgow, and Aberdeen ranking among the top five cities in the UK outside of London. Over half of the projects originate from Germany, Ireland, and Canada, while the United States contributes nearly a third.

Notably, a significant portion of American investments focuses on leveraging Scotland’s research and development capabilities or its expertise in digital technology skills. This highlights the attractiveness of Scotland’s enviable skills base in these areas.

The EY “attractiveness” survey is extensively utilized by both the Scottish government and its agencies, as well as the UK government. Its purpose is twofold: to showcase and defend the country’s economic performance and to entice further investment into Scotland.

Adrian Gillespie, the chief executive of Scottish Enterprise, views these results as a testament to Scotland’s dynamic business environment. He highlights the country’s strengths, including its exceptional skills base, renowned universities, thriving innovation districts, ambitious entrepreneurial communities, and the exceptional quality of life it provides to individuals.

Vicky Grant, the head of international trade at Highlands and Islands Enterprise, emphasizes their collaborative approach with companies seeking to invest in Scotland.

Their assistance encompasses various aspects, including identifying suitable locations, securing premises, facilitating recruitment and training, and providing financial support where possible. Furthermore, they maintain ongoing engagement to ensure that businesses have access to comprehensive support, enabling them to thrive and succeed.

These projects can vary in terms of their scale and significance, ranging from small yet highly valuable ventures to those that create numerous low-skill job opportunities in regions with limited work prospects.

The number of jobs associated with these projects demonstrates significant variation. In 2021, Scotland witnessed a notable increase, attracting around 10,000 jobs compared to the previous year’s figure of 4,500.

However, in the following year, the count decreased by half to 5,000. It is worth noting that many of these projects either provide projected recruitment figures that may not align with the actual outcome or do not disclose the exact headcount at all.

Scottish Development International, jointly overseen by the Scottish government and Scottish Enterprise, plays a significant role in leveraging soft power. It actively coordinates efforts to attract investments and foster trade, leading to the creation or safeguarding of 8,500 jobs last year.

Among the notable success stories highlighted by Deputy First Minister Shona Robison are 90 positions in Cumbernauld dedicated to printing labels for Scotch whisky bottles.

Although the business originated in Glasgow during the 1840s, it is now part of the Italian company Eurostampa, which has established a new plant and significantly increased employment opportunities.

Significant job growth is also witnessed in the aerospace and biotech sectors. Pharma giant Merck recently announced plans to create 500 jobs in drug testing, expanding its workforce in Glasgow and Stirling to a total of 1,200 employees.



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By Ryan

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