Convincing government that we are worth it

Ian Mean
Director of Business West Gloucestershire | Business West
4th January 2024

 The South West is a great place to do business, but I am afraid we simply have to convince government we are worth it.

That’s why I welcome the new Western Gateway partnership’s initiative aimed at unlocking billions of pounds of investment going into UK companies from other countries.

Currently, London receives nearly half of the total investment that comes in from other countries at 43%.

But the South West of England receives just 5% and Wales only gets 2.9%.

And the Western Gateway area-stretching from Swindon to Swansea- brings in more overseas investment than the rest of the South West and Wales together.

However, it is still behind the UK average.

The initiative by the Western Gateway-alongside Bristol and Bath Regional Capital-was launched in the Commons and supported by the Secretary of State for Wales, David TC Davis with Shadow Chief Secretary of the Treasury, and MP for Bristol North West, Darren Jones.

He said:” We have to unlock investment from private capital if we are going to get Britain building again and our economy back on track”.

Darren is absolutely right.

His words echo comments from Phil Smith, managing director of Business West in his thoughts on the economy in the coming year.

Phil tells me: “On infrastructure and how we finance it, I believe there could be investment opportunities for the UK with countries like Australia and Canada through billions of superannuation pension monies”.

And Phil’s comments were also echoed in the Daily Mail by Ruth Sunderland in an  illuminating interview over Christmas with the retiring boss of Legal & General, Sir Nigel Wilson, who has used his £1.2 trillion balance sheet to help to reshape our cities.

If he were chancellor on March 6 for the Budget, Sir Nigel said he would work to push through reforms to encourage big British retirement funds to invest more in the UK, and he would chase more foreign direct investment.

“The world is still wash with money to invest”, says Sir Nigel.

The Western Gateway are on the right track here with this initiative-they must be supported.

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