Background to the report

Inward investment involves an overseas entity either investing in or purchasing assets in the UK, thereby introducing foreign money into the UK economy. It can bring economic benefits by creating new jobs; developing new infrastructure and boosting productivity through sharing new technologies and skills.

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The government sees inward investment as important for supporting economic growth and generating investment to support its priorities, which include transitioning to a low-carbon economy, reducing regional inequalities and becoming a science and technology superpower through innovation.

Factors which may attract investors include growth opportunities, consumer demand, ease of setting up a business and an established rule of law. Ultimately investors will make investment decisions based on whether they judge they can make a return, but the government aims to develop relationships with investors and present the UK as the best destination for their investment. DIT shares responsibility for supporting inward investment with other government departments, and also needs to work with departments responsible for policy in specific sectors or hold policy levers supporting inward investment, such as tax, regulation and visa requirements.

Scope of the report

This report examines whether DIT is well-positioned to secure an impact from its support for inward investment.

We assess whether DIT:

  • has a clear and coherent strategy for supporting inward investment which reflects the government’s economic and wider priorities and is understood across the organisation;
  • has a robust plan for implementing this strategy, including the resources, processes and effective networks across government it needs to deliver; and
  • is able to demonstrate that its activities are having an impact on investment into the UK. 6 The report examines DIT’s support for both FDI and capital investment.


The UK is an attractive destination for inward investment, which can play a key role in boosting the economy. DIT is focusing on projects that will have the highest economic impact, making more use of technology, working in a more integrated way with BEIS and improving due diligence processes. The Office for Investment, which DIT established to deliver a one-stop-shop for the highest-value investors, has had some early successes.

However, attributing success is inherently difficult, given long lead times in securing investment and the impact of wider economic factors on global investment flows. Understanding DIT’s performance also requires a consistent approach to tracking impact over time.

While there is some evidence that DIT’s support has some impact, it remains difficult to determine how much investment would have happened without government involvement. Furthermore, attracting inward investment requires the coordination of multiple departments which hold policy levers. DIT needs to work in a joined-up way across government and local bodies to present a coherent UK offer to investors.


Publication details

Press release

View press release (27 Jan 2023)

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