Inward Foreign Direct Investment

International Trade – in the House of Commons on 6th June 2019.

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Photo of Henry Bellingham Henry Bellingham Conservative, North West Norfolk

What recent assessment he has made of trends in the level of inward foreign direct investment.

Photo of Graham Stuart Graham Stuart Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)

On almost every measure, the UK has strengthened its position as the most attractive investment destination in Europe since the EU referendum. According to “The fDi Report 2019”, published last month on 3 May, last year saw in-year greenfield investment in the UK grow by 19% to 1,278 projects—more, notably, than France and Germany combined. Despite the slowdown in the world economy, the latest figures show that the total stock of FDI in the UK reached a new high of £1.5 trillion, more than Germany, Poland and Spain combined.

Photo of Henry Bellingham Henry Bellingham Conservative, North West Norfolk

I thank the Minister for that extremely positive and encouraging reply. Is he aware that much of King’s Lynn and west Norfolk’s economy is based on foreign direct investment from a number of firms from America and Europe and that we have some subsidiaries of truly world-class companies? What is his Department doing to liaise with those firms and learn the lessons about why they made that successful decision to come to the UK and Norfolk, in particular?

Photo of Graham Stuart Graham Stuart Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)

We have a supplier relationship management programme, where we have built relationships at ministerial and senior official level with the largest investors into the UK. It is notable that in 2017-18, the 2,072 FDI projects that landed in the UK created 75,968 new jobs. Investors are not put off by Brexit, but they are deterred by the threat of nationalisation by the Labour party. It is the fear that job creators most often express to me, which goes to show that Labour does not even need to be in power to damage British jobs and living standards. The threat of Labour is enough.

Photo of Geraint Davies Geraint Davies Labour/Co-operative, Swansea West

My father, David Thomas Morgan Davies, was head of economic development at the Welsh Office and got Ford to move to Bridgend in the ’70s, yet this week we find that it is announcing its closure at a time when Donald Trump is saying that we are going to have a great trade deal. Does the Minister agree that the people working in Ford who voted in good faith to leave the EU did not vote to leave their jobs and deserve a say on the final deal, so that they can think again and stay in the EU instead of losing their jobs and being decimated by the Americans?

Photo of Graham Stuart Graham Stuart Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)

The hon. Gentleman again wants to frustrate the will of his constituents. The automotive industry is in massive global flux, and trying to link every decision to Brexit leads people astray, just as he and so many of his colleagues do as they come up with these false arguments for a second referendum. The people want the thing they decided to be done and they do not want to hear weasel words from the Labour party, trying to say the opposite.