The North East is outstripping every other area of the UK outside London for creating new jobs from foreign investment compared to population size, new analysis of data reveals.
In the last financial year, the North East Combined Authority (NECA) area from County Durham to the Scottish Borders also created nearly twice as many new overseas investment jobs for every one million people of the working age population compared with the UK average.
Inward investment chiefs have hailed the figures as underscoring the superb package of public and private sector support available making North East England one of the UK’s premier investment locations.
Particular strengths in the digital, advanced manufacturing, financial and professional services and energy sectors helped the NECA area secure 3,160 jobs from foreign direct investment and reinvestment in 2016-17 per one million working age people, compared with the UK average of 1,600 posts.
Exceptional skills availability, cost competitive locations and superb wrap around support infrastructure are attracting overseas investors such as Belgian-owned Smulders due to create 300 new jobs in the energy sector in North Tyneside.
US customer services outsourcing giant Convergys is another foreign investor in the past 12 months, creating 600 new posts in its centre of excellence at The Rocket in Newcastle’s Stephenson Quarter.
And Robert Forsyth, Metec UK Commercial Director, together with the owners and UK staff, has overseen a £1m investment by the firm’s Italian parent company into its South Shields plant.
The company now employing 35 people in South Shields is a world leader in manufacturing aluminium and zinc anodes – castings attached to structures in the oil and gas and offshore renewables industries to prevent corrosion of installation foundations ensuring their structural integrity.
The Italian owner’s North East investment includes more than £500,000 of new machinery for its foundry and associated fabrication workshop, to produce anodes to various client specifications.
“The investment into the North East by Metec shows the strength, stability and skill set our region offers,” said Mr Forsyth.
“Our first year is forecast to almost double our parent company’s expectations on turnover as we strive to establish the UK site and strengthen the Metec UK production plant as well as the group’s global position.
“We are bidding for and hopeful of winning record size contracts which will further secure the short and long-term future of our company, providing new local jobs and supply chain opportunities for the foreseeable future.”
Guy Currey, Invest North East England Director, said:
“Analysis by the North East LEP of Department for International Trade figures reveals that only London is doing comparatively better than we are.
The North East secured 3,160 jobs from foreign direct investment or reinvestment for every one million working age residents. The UK average was 1,600 jobs for every one million of the working age population, which includes London, and is confirmation that the NECA area is significantly punching above its weight.
These figures reflect the outstanding efforts of the local authority inward investment teams, as well as the overarching Invest North East England team, to bring foreign investment and encourage overseas reinvestment in our region.”
Councillor Iain Malcolm, Leader of South Tyneside Council and Thematic Lead for Economic Development and Regeneration of NECA , said: “These figures clearly show that the North East is performing exceptionally well in attracting foreign investment, with only London securing more based on population size.
“We have the highly skilled, available workforce investors need as well as the cost competitive, quality accommodation which more and more firms across a wide range of sectors are choosing to locate to.
“Our compelling investment offer is also securing valuable reinvestment from existing overseas firms which bodes well for future regional economic growth.”
Victoria Sutherland, North East LEP Senior Economist, said: “We were pleased to see the most recent DIT data which showed there have been more than 3,000 new jobs created in the North East LEP area from foreign direct investment.
“We were interested to look into this data in more detail and found that the North East LEP area was second only to London per capita for investment performance.
“This is clear evidence that the great people and assets we have in the North East are highly attractive to overseas companies looking to invest and reinvest in the UK.”
Invest North East England provides a single point of contact for inward investment enquiries on behalf of the region’s seven local councils, working in close partnership with the local authorities to ensure potential investors are matched with the best fit for their investment enquiry.
The growth in inward investment jobs reflects the emphasis placed on attracting foreign investment in the North East LEP’s refreshed Strategic Economic Plan.
Businesses investing in the regional economy will play a central role in helping the North East reach its target of creating 100,000 more and better jobs by 2024.