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Are you up for the fight?

21st March 2017

Categories: Latest News

Are you up for the fight?

The UK has seen unprecedented political upheaval in recent times, from both sides of the Atlantic. Many economists and forecasters have predicted extremes at either end and as yet there is no real clarity on who, if anyone, is right.

Inflation is starting to rise and consumer spending beginning to slow, both of which are affecting business profit margins. Those making investment decisions are planning further ahead, making forecasts and identifying industry trends that are helping them to seek new market opportunities, whilst considering the wider economic impacts of Brexit. We have seen some big names, particularly in the financial sector, announce moves to come out of the UK and others suggesting their investment plans will not change, well not quite yet anyway.

In the UK, on behalf of the Department for International Trade, Ernst & Young (E&Y) run the UK inward investment service.  Their respected attractiveness surveys are much anticipated, offering a barometer of location strategies from the boardroom. The most recent January 2017 ‘Plan B for Brexit’, a survey on the attractiveness of Europe and European countries on cross border investment, provides food for thought. FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) is vital to the UK, the rest of Europe and of course to locations such as Torbay.

We have a growing number of foreign owned companies in Torbay, mainly in the manufacturing and hi tech sectors. Some of these companies have cited skills, currency fluctuations and the likelihood of their parent company to re-invest following the referendum decision, as key concerns in the short to medium term. TDA works closely with those businesses to understand these concerns and support the businesses in responding to them. More widely the E&Y report highlights that 86% of international companies active in the UK say they plan to stay, with the UK competitive advantages remaining strong, and the hope that some key incentives may likely be improved.

To me the biggest challenge for investment is becoming and then staying competitive as a place and a market – but not at all costs, it has to be sustainable and for locations like Torbay this is imperative. Our emerging economic strategy sets out priority actions we must address to attract investing and expanding companies including; access to the right skills, infrastructure and accelerating the development of suitable employment space.

The UK, France, Germany and the Netherlands are the usual suspects vying for FDI and our near neighbours in Ireland gleefully rubbing their hands awaiting an FDI influx. But forget countries, European cities are vying for investment and they are being very aggressive and competitive in the process. But just because we aren’t a major European city that most definitely shouldn’t stop Torbay coming out, fighting and being prepared to retain, grow and attract all investment. I’m up for the fight, Torbay Council and TDA are, who’s with us?

To find out more about Investment opportunities in Torbay contact Jason Buck, Investment Development Manager, on 01803 208799 or email

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