Dr Liam Fox launches global investment drive, bringing more than £30 billion to the UK

17 May 2018 02:03 PM

International Trade Secretary Dr Liam Fox launches a new drive to attract more than £30 billion of investment to 68 projects across the UK.

International Trade Secretary Dr Liam Fox will today (Thursday 17 May) launch a new drive to attract foreign investment into the UK at a meeting of the Board of Trade in Stirling.

The Department for International Trade (DIT) is promoting 68 UK investment projects worth more than £30 billion to overseas investors. Dr Fox will also extend the highly successful High Potential Opportunities scheme, piloted in Doncaster’s rail industry, Telford’s agri-tech sector, and Greater Manchester’s innovative graphene-based lightweight materials sector to new industries and parts of the UK.

Dr Liam Fox, International Trade Secretary and President of the Board of Trade, said:

This is a bold and ambitious programme, building on the UK’s position as the leading destination for foreign investment in Europe through the government’s modern Industrial Strategy, helping to build a Britain fit for the future.

The High Potential Opportunities scheme will deliver growth where it is most needed, ensuring that the benefits of global investment are felt in every part of the country.

And with more than £30 billion worth of new opportunities, my international economic department’s overseas network is working hard to attract top investors to the UK.

DIT works directly with companies in 177 cities in 108 countries around the world. Last year, DIT helped attract 2,265 investment projects which created or safeguarded 108,000 jobs in the UK.

The 68 projects worth more than £30 billion, with more to be added over the coming months, will also be promoted through a revamped online one stop shop for potential investors: invest.great.gov.uk.

The extended High Potential Opportunities scheme is now taking applications from business organisations, Local Enterprise Partnerships and councils from across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. In the first phase, more than 20 new sectors and areas of the UK will benefit from a boost in investment – creating new jobs and securing the UK’s prosperity.

Carolyn Fairbairn, CBI Director-General, said:

The UK has a strong standing when it comes to attracting investment to these shores. That investment leads to real, tangible benefits for people and communities – more jobs, prosperity and choice.

The International Trade Department’s drive to attract billions of pounds worth of investment to projects in each corner of the country is warmly welcomed by firms.

The new online catalogue of British projects for global investors to find and research will also be a vital tool to attracting even more capital to the UK, enabling the benefits of free trade and investment to flow into our communities.

Through the modern Industrial Strategy, the government is setting out a long-term plan to boost the productivity and earning power of people throughout the UK. It sets out how the government is building a Britain fit for the future – helping businesses create better, higher-paying jobs in every part of the UK with investment in skills, industries and infrastructure.

Whilst in Scotland, Dr Fox will also announce the winners of the BOFTAs – Board of Trade Awards. Six companies are being recognised for their excellence in international trade, demonstrating innovation, creativity and entrepreneurialism.

The BOFTA winners are:

Further information

The Department for International Trade (DIT) secures UK and global prosperity by promoting and financing international trade and investment, and championing free trade. We are an international economic department, responsible for:

Details of the 68 projects being promoted by DIT, by location and value:

East Midlands

East of England

Northern Ireland

Northern Powerhouse

West Midlands


South East

South West

Yorkshire & Humber


In all, the 68 projects are worth £33,791,000,000

The government’s Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) Strategy

The government’s Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) Strategy consists of operational changes which will:

DIT has been working closely with colleagues across government to ensure the closest possible alignment of activity to support the Industrial Strategy’s initiatives around supporting the business environment, growing clusters and sectors, and the promotion of FDI through DIT’s FDI strategy.

This will deliver a more targeted approach to promotion and investor support, and better address market failures to maximise wealth creation across the UK.

From next financial year, we will change our measure of performance from the volume of projects landed to a comprehensive measure of economic impact.

Alongside this, we will work with local partners to build a portfolio of ‘High Potential Opportunities’ across the UK to promote investment opportunities showcasing UK sector strengths, skills bases, cost bases and infrastructure programmes that are not readily referenced by current market information and have a high potential to deliver economic benefits.

This will enable us to be more responsive to the needs of foreign investors and better match investor requirements with opportunities across the UK that have the capacity to drive high value growth and jobs.

Details of the existing High Potential Opportunities (HPO) pilot schemes

HPO commercialising new technologies for high productivity food production (Telford)

HPO rail rolling stock supply chain (Doncaster)

HPO lightweight and specialist materials for the transport sector (Greater Manchester: Rochdale, Bury, Oldham)

There is a global opportunity in lightweight materials for transport applications:

Greater Manchester offers a gateway to opportunities in lightweight structures throughout the North West, the rest of the UK, and across Europe. The unique ecosystem offers the ability to move from research and testing, to commencing small scale production, and includes scaling up in the UK (rather than abroad) with the benefits of retaining your people, networks and importantly links to world class research.

For more information: