Corporate Reputation

United and Divided Kingdom: Research spanning eight years on changing perceptions of inbound Foreign Direct Investment

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This is an historic moment for the United Kingdom as the country finally departs from the European Union after four years of negotiation – but into a global economy challenged by severe disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The UK economy has been one of the worst affected by the pandemic among the major economies in the OECD and its recovery remains weak, hindered by uncertainty around the midterm outlook for the UK after Brexit.

Now the terms of the UK’s departure from the EU are settled, some expect renewed global interest in British businesses over the next 12 months – and landing new foreign direct investment is a clearly an important priority for the UK government, which advanced two new initiatives promoting FDI in November 2020. First, Prime Minister Boris Johnson established a new Office for Investment – based in the Department for International Trade but under the sponsorship of the Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer – to help attract high value, high impact FDI into the UK. Second, the government introduced the National Security and Investment Bill, which will establish a new regime for monitoring inward investment on national security grounds.

Understanding public sentiment and communicating proposed investments effectively – both internally and externally – can mean the difference between long-term success or failure. This report sets out the state of public attitudes towards FDI as well as desirable – and undesirable – behaviours and characteristics of foreign investors.

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