A MAJORITY of US business leaders would invest in the UK ahead of any other European country, figures revealed this morning.
Sixty-three per cent of US bosses surveyed by Cubitt Consulting (CC) and BritishAmerican Business (BAB) said the UK was their first choice for European investment, ahead of just 16.7 per cent who picked Germany, and 6.7 per cent who chose France.
And despite a raft of regulations, levies and taxes hitting the City, London’s competitiveness as a financial centre has actually improved compared to Europe since the financial crisis, according to 65 per cent of respondents.
Some 56.7 per cent also picked London as their top choice for a stock market flotation in the next 12 months, ahead of New York with 21.7 per cent and Hong Kong with a tenth of votes.
Britain’s main benefit is the language it shares with the US according to 33.3 per cent of respondents, while 23.3 per cent thought the biggest draw was the highly skilled workforce.
A fifth said UK expertise was most important, and 13.3 per cent cited the country’s geography.
By contrast, just five per cent put their investment down to sound infrastructure, 1.7 per cent to good governance, and a further 1.7 per cent to light-touch regulation.
The regulatory burden was given as the second biggest barrier to investment, BAB and CC said, just behind high tax and just ahead of access to funding and high labour costs.
But the report’s authors suggested these tax and red tape concerns are even more heightened in Europe – highlighting French President Francois Hollande’s attempts to levy a 75 per cent top rate of income tax – slightly lessening the pressure on the UK.