Seventy-eight per cent think an overseas firm moving to their region would be positive, while 69 per cent believe such a relocation would benefit the country as a whole, a survey of 2,000 adults found.
Job creation was named in the poll as the most positive effect of firms moving here, with 85 per cent seeing this as the biggest or second-biggest benefit, while more than a third hailed the attraction of more companies to the area.
“The growth of the UK economy hinges crucially on our ability to develop overseas markets and attract foreign investment – particularly from dynamic emerging market economies,” said Andrew Sentence, senior economic adviser at consultancy group PwC, which conducted the research.
“By attracting businesses to locate their headquarters in the UK, we attract high value-added jobs and ensure Britain remains at the heart of a rapidly expanding global economy,” he added.
Several companies including WPP and Grafton have moved their bases back to Britain in the last year, and the coalition has sent a string of ministers to China and India in recent months in an attempt to lure investments in British projects.
The London Stock Exchange has successfully attracted companies from around the world, though the UK Listing Authority is looking at tightening up the rules following several turbulent floats from foreign mining companies.
Kazakh-based ENRC told MPs last week that a quarantine period for overseas companies joining the London stock markets would help them adjust to the corporate governance rules.