Business survey finds that investors remain confident in Scotland’s future

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By a Newsnet reporter

Businesses have expressed confidence in the Scottish economy as claims by George Osborne and Danny Alexander of uncertainty by investors failed the test of Channel 4’s renowned factcheck, with business investors insisting they were not concerned.

The factcheck analysis confirms that outside London, Scotland is the leading destination in the UK for Foreign Investment creating more high value jobs in 2010 than were created through foreign investment in London and that foreign investment in Scotland has continued to rise at a time when it is flatlining in other parts of the UK.

The Channel 4 factcheck also discovered that with the exception of a slight decrease in 2007, Scotland’s success in securing inward investment has been climbing steadily since 2002.  However the London region has seen foreign investment level off since 2008.

Edinburgh came second after West London in generating growth for the UK economy in 2010, and the Scottish capital pushed East London into third place adding £32bn to the UK economy.  Glasgow and Aberdeen also made it into the top ten British cities.

The Channel 4 website also notes that according to figures from Westminster’s Department of Trade and Industry, the main reasons for investing in Scotland are divided evenly between serving European markets, being close to customers and close to centres of research.  With only 8% of the UK population, in the last 10 years Scotland has won 19% of all research and development projects in the UK.  In 2010 Scotland created more new jobs due to inward investment than anywhere else in the UK.

In comments to Channel 4, Doug Sawers, managing director of human resources giant Ceridian who are investing £16 million in their Glasgow operation and creating 300 new jobs, said:

“Regarding a future Scottish referendum, at this stage, we are not worried.  In the event that the country chooses independence, we have faith in the Scottish Government’s approach to making Scotland more, not less, competitive.  Recent news and speculation has not damaged Scotland’s and Glasgow’s prospects.”

Mr Sawers added that although Glasgow wasn’t the cheapest option in the UK the city was very competitive, and that balanced against the available resources, it was a “clear winner”.

A spokesman for the Bank of New York Mellon which is increasing its investment in Edinburgh said it “deals in multiple currencies, multiple jurisdiction and changes within these all the time”.

Leading Scottish industrialist Jim McColl added: “What many of us are convinced about is that a productive and prosperous future for this country depends on securing real economic powers for the Scottish parliament through constitutional change”.

SNP MSP and Member of the Scottish Parliament’s Economy Committee Chic Brodie said:

“The only people risking harm to Scotland’s economy are George Osborne and Danny Alexander with their enthusiasm for cuts when they should be investing in recovery.

“Ceridian, Bank of New York Mellon and Atos are all firms boosting their investment in Scotland in stark contrast to the UK Government’s claims of uncertainty and we are seeing new investments from the likes of Amazon, Avaloq, Doosan and Mitsubishi.

“And Scotland has proven to be one of the most attractive destinations for foreign investment in the UK, attracting more high value jobs in 2010 than the London economy.

“Osborne, Alexander, Moore and Cameron have been engaged in scaremongering of the worst kind.

“The evidence clearly shows that Scotland has the talent, the natural resources and the perfect location to build a strong and prosperous economy. UK ministers and the anti-independence parties should drop their scaremongering and join the positive debate on Scotland’s future.”