Foreign investment drop a 'worrying symptom' of Brexit, campaigners warn
Anti-Brexit campaigners have hit out at the Government after new figures showed foreign investment in the UK has plummeted over the past year.
Figures released by the Department of International Trade on Wednesday revealed that 1,782 Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) projects were secured in 2018-19, down 14% to a five-year-low.
The report also found a 24% slump in new jobs being created - 57,625 compared to 75,968 in the previous year.
Anti-Brexit groups seized on the downturn claiming it is a “further symptom” of the Government's attempts to take the UK out of the EU.
Labour MP Liz Kendall, of the People's Vote campaign, said: “The chaotic mess that Brexit has become is already doing huge damage to our economy, costing upwards of £800m a week in lost growth according to the Bank of England, and this worrying drop in investment is a further symptom.
“But this will become far, far worse if the country is forced against its will into a destructive No Deal.
“Boris Johnson, the man who said 'F- business', looks likely to become the next Prime Minister and seems intent on dragging the country towards crashing out of the EU without a deal, despite having no public or parliamentary mandate to do so.
“This will mean factories closing, jobs moving overseas, more lost investment and less money for our NHS and public services.”
Best for Britain chief executive Naomi Smith said: “This is a far cry from the promise of a post-Brexit global Britain.
"Companies don't want to invest in a country threatening to go down a dangerous no deal route. That means decent people are going without jobs.
"We need to stop Brexit. That's the only way to get Britain working again."
Out of the year's total investment projects, expansions - including retentions - took the biggest hit of 22%, while new investments saw a 12% decline.
Mergers and acquisitions however, including joint ventures, went up by 8%.
The fresh statistics come as a United Nations Conference on Trade and Development report warned earlier this month that global foreign investment had declined for a third year in a row.
The Department of International Trade said despite the international downturn the UK was ahead of its European neighbours in securing inward investment.
International Trade Secretary Liam Fox said: “Despite global economic headwinds and a competitive investment environment, the UK continues to be the number one destination for foreign direct investment in Europe, accumulating more FDI stock than Germany and France combined.
“Today’s figures show the UK remains extremely attractive to foreign investors, particularly our European neighbours.
“My department will continue to promote the strengths of the UK as a great inward investment destination, with an open, liberal economy, world-class talent and business friendly environment.”