US firms poised to ramp up investment in Britain
Top American companies are set to increase their investment in Britain in the coming years despite the impact of the pandemic and Brexit.
A survey of large US multinationals that together employ around 275,000 staff in the UK found the majority were confident in Britain as a place to do business.
Around 60 per cent of respondents said they plan to at least modestly step up their expenditure over the next to three years.
The survey of 68 US employers, conducted by transatlantic trade body BritishAmerican Business, found that on average companies rated their confidence 7.8 on a 10-point scale.
Around a third of respondents rated their confidence nine or 10.
The survey found a number of longstanding characteristics of British business were key to this confidence, including a stable and predictable regulatory and legal environment and the quality of environmental, labour, and planning regulations.
In particular, respondents singled out the City of London as a hub for world-class financial and tech services.
The country’s talent pool is also a draw, as well as the first-class academic research environment, which underpins a strong science and technology ecosystem.
The sentiment will come as a major boost to the UK’s post-Brexit prospects as it looks to partners such as the US to help define its future as an independent trading nation.
However, the survey showed confidence levels drop sharply regarding the UK’s relationship with the EU.
Nearly 80 per cent of respondents reported a confidence score in the UK-EU relationship of 6 or lower, compared with only 20 per cent for the US-UK relationship. No respondents rated the UK-EU relationship above an eight.
The report’s authors wrote that the survey “reconfirms the UK’s position as a major global business hub”.
“There is still some work to do to optimise the trading relationship between the UK and its neighbours in the EU, but the UK’s fundamental strengths of location, skilled and educated workforce, legal and regulatory reliability, and pro-business culture mean it is no surprise that 60 per cent of respondents are planning to increase their investment in the UK in the coming years.”