Midlands’ Leaders Stress the Importance of International Connectivity for Foreign Investment in the Region

Published on : Thursday, December 12, 2013

Birmingham-Airport-logoMidlands’ leaders have today stressed the importance of international connectivity for foreign investment in the region after new research showed that two-thirds (71%) of foreign investors believe international transport links are vital to choosing a location.

The study, commissioned by inward investment programme Business Birmingham and undertaken by ComRes, polled businesses from three different continents that have recently invested in the UK to establish what key drivers lie behind the decision by foreign businesses to invest.

The five key findings of the research were:

1. Over two-thirds (71%) of foreign direct investors believe international transport links are vital to choosing a new location.

2. The UK’s regional cities are increasingly appealing as investment locations, with half saying Birmingham is an attractive alternative to London.

3. Over half (53%) of investors rely on air links to grow their businesses and need direct routes to different parts of the UK outside London in order to invest further here.

4. 1 in 3 (35%) businesses see access to the European market as a main reason for investing in the UK.

5. Support from local government and investment bodies is the most important factor affecting investment decisions.

The results come in the wake of a high-profile trip to China by Midlands’ leaders to encourage relations, and as the Airport and the wider region awaits the Airports Commission’s Interim Report on its recommendations for the future of the UK aviation industry.

Paul Kehoe, CEO of Birmingham Airport, has said: “This latest research echoes our belief that we need great long-haul airports across the UK to support the growth of local economies – and specifically to attract foreign investment.

“The Airport is doing its bit. In the last six months we have attracted new airlines, such as Air India, so there is clearly the demand for development of long-haul routes outside of the South East.

“With the ‘right signals’ from the Commission and from Government, this process could accelerate and further support the upward trajectory of our regional economy.”

Neil Rami, Chief Executive of Marketing Birmingham, which operates Business Birmingham, said: “Foreign businesses want to invest in locations that have good international connectivity – that message is loud and clear. With HS2, the M42 Gateway Project and Birmingham Airport’s upcoming runway extension, it has never been a more exciting time to invest in the Birmingham area.

“Organisations across the region have been working together to promote the West Midlands as a valuable investment location to key target markets such as China and India. It is crucial that the Airports Commission supports these ambitions by honouring its commitment to take a UK-wide perspective in its Interim Report, supporting the growth of Birmingham Airport and the region’s economy.”

Jerry Blackett, the Chief Executive of the Birmingham Chambers of Commerce, added: “These latest figures highlight the importance of international access for investment decisions and are of great significance for our local area. We need to support the global links that enable investment in the region and allow our local businesses to grow.

“Travelling to the South-East entails time and monetary costs, especially for SMEs, so I hope that the Airports Commission’s upcoming Interim Report will show support to our region and its main global gateway. Only with the right UK-wide infrastructure in place can our economy continue to grow”.

Source:- Birmingham Airport

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