While the last 12 months have seen a worldwide and national downturn in the levels of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), Swindon and Wiltshire have bucked the global trend and seen significant growth in the region in new FDI-funded projects and jobs.
2020/21 saw almost a doubling (87 per cent) in the number of new internationally funded projects starting in the region compared to the previous year, and a seven-fold increase in new jobs.
This is all the more remarkable when compared to both global and pan European investment figures. The global downturn during the pandemic saw a 30 per cent drop in FDI projects, and a 40 per cent down turn in new jobs overall. Europe saw a 30% per cent drop in projects and the UK itself a 35 per cent drop.
The Inward Investment teams at Swindon Borough Council, Wiltshire Council and the Swindon and Wiltshire LEP, working together under the Invest in Swindon and Wiltshire brand, are delighted with the campaign’s success with new investment from companies like Photonica, Thermo Fisher and Becton Dickinson.
New investments have covered manufacturing, retail, services and research and development and include key regional strengths in sectors like Life Sciences, Digital Technology, Pharmaceutical and Automotive.
Councillor David Renard, Leader of Swindon Borough Council, said: “Investors continue to see Swindon as an economic powerhouse and a great place to do business. We continue to provide the environment, opportunities, skilled workforce and great lifestyle which enables businesses and their workforce to thrive. Even through the pandemic, investment by national and international companies demonstrates that Swindon is a player on the global stage.”
Councillor Richard Clewer, Leader of Wiltshire Council, added: “We know Wiltshire is a great place to live and carry out business and this latest announcement shows just how attractive the area is to foreign companies.
“The importance of Foreign Direct Investment cannot be underestimated as it creates new jobs and more opportunities for growth as foreign companies transfer funding, knowledge, skills and technology to the county, providing a vital boost to the local economy. We welcome discussions with any foreign as well as domestic companies looking to invest in the county.”
The Invest in Swindon and Wiltshire Team can also see a very strong pipeline going into 21/22.