Rishi Sunak’s pitch to woo foreign investors: $37 billion invested in UK already

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Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced £29.5 billion ($36.8 billion) in private sector investment in Britain before hosting international executives in a bid to make the country Europe’s top foreign direct investment destination.

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak (FBC)

After the government last week offered permanent tax breaks to businesses to modernize their plants and machinery, Sunac hopes luring foreign investors will help boost Britain’s struggling economy.

Australian fund IFM Investors and Aware Super will raise £10bn and £5bn respectively in projects moving from infrastructure and energy transition to affordable housing, Sunac’s Downing Street office said in a statement.

Spanish energy giant Iberdrola has said it will add £7 billion to its investment plans in Britain, which will include electricity transmission and distribution networks.

Other projects outlined in the statement include a £2.5 billion investment by Microsoft in artificial intelligence infrastructure.

“Attracting international investment is the cornerstone of my plan to grow the economy,” Sunak said in a statement published before the investment “leaders” at the 16th-century Hampton Court Palace in London.

Britain, like many other countries, is seeking private sector investment to improve its economy in the zero-day era and to build infrastructure that stretched public finances cannot support on its own.

But political and regulatory uncertainty sparked by the 2016 Brexit referendum vote has seen Britain’s appeal diminish in recent years, while other countries have made themselves more attractive to FDI, several major investors said.

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France, Britain has been the first to record the highest number of new foreign direct investment projects in Europe. President Emmanuel Macron announced 13 billion euros ($14.18 billion) in investment pledges at the same foreign direct investment summit in May.

Sunac says new funding for industries such as clean energy, life sciences and advanced technology will create high-quality jobs across Britain.

High-profile investors Stephen Schwarzman of Blackstone, David Solomon of Goldman Sachs, Jamie Dimon of JP Morgan Chase and Aviva’s Amanda Blank will attend Monday’s event.

Britain’s government has admitted it needs to do more to compete, according to a review launched after the country lost some high-profile investments.

LAGGING UK

Britain now surpasses France and Germany in attractiveness for direct investment, according to accounting firm EY.

But Nissan has had some recent successes, including Friday’s announcement of electric cars it will build in northeast England.

Business Minister Kemi Badenoch told LBC radio: “People want to invest in the UK, even if they don’t say it a lot.”

“They are confident that this is the place to spend their money and that it will be a good investment as they help us grow our economy and deliver the jobs and wages that the people of the UK want.”

Britain is planning to set up a concierge service to help investors connect with the government.

“When a company comes to the UK government, they don’t want to deal with five different departments. They want to deal with one person,” Investments Minister Dominic Johnson told Reuters ahead of Monday’s Hampton Court event.

It will enable ministers to have a very robust and open dialogue with the international investment community about how we can invest more in the environment.

The £10 billion investment plans represent a £3 billion increase from the first announcement last year, with all the projects announced by the government being new, a government official said.

King Charles was due to host Monday’s summit at Buckingham Palace on Monday evening.



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