Oxfordshire remains one of the ‘most attractive locations anywhere in the UK’ for international investment

More than 1,300 new jobs created in the county over the past 12 months, thanks to Foreign Direct Investment – a 122% lift on 2016/2017 figures, with the county’s emerging retail sector behind much of the rise

The number of new jobs created in Oxfordshire through foreign direct investment has risen by an incredible 122% during the past financial year, the county’s Local Enterprise Partnership has announced following the release of Department for International Trade (DIT) figures.

OxLEP has today (9 July) said 93 foreign direct investment ‘projects’ were secured during the last fiscal year (2017/2018), leading to the creation of 1,315 new jobs for Oxfordshire – an additional 403 jobs were also safeguarded in the process.

This, in comparison to 592 new jobs generated through overseas investment in 2016/2017.

A strong proportion of Oxfordshire’s foreign investment has been triggered by the growing emergence of the county’s retail strength, including the £440m redevelopment of Westgate Oxfordand the opening of 30 new stores at Bicester Village.

Other sectors benefiting from investment also include; biotechnology and pharmaceuticals, business and consumer services and the aerospace sector.

As well as a significant increase in the creation of new jobs, the number of foreign direct investment ‘projects’ rose by a staggering 181% in comparison to the previous financial year – 33 projects were secured during 2016/2017, compared to the 93 in 2017/2018.

It was also announced that around 66% of investments in Oxfordshire were new investments, according to the DIT’s statistics.

Across the whole of England in 2016/2017, a total of 1,045 foreign direct investment ‘projects’ were secured, meaning Oxfordshire was responsible for 9% of all English investment.

In addition, OxLEP secured five ‘multi-region’ foreign direct investment projects – all of which had both financial and job creation impact across several regions.

Nigel Tipple – Chief Executive of OxLEP – says the positive figures underline Oxfordshire’s continued global economic strength, backed by key assets such as Harwell CampusCulham Science Centre, the University of Oxford and a high-performing small business community.

Mr Tipple said: “There cannot be any doubt that Oxfordshire offers one of the most attractive investment propositions globally, thanks to the world-class assets we possess within the county.

“We are now moving into one of our most-exciting periods of growth, with key work set to begin in developing a government-backed Local Industrial Strategy, the continuation of the £215m Housing and Growth Deal and opportunities set to rise from the emerging ‘Oxford-Cambridge Corridor’ which contributes an impressive £90.5billion to the UK economy.

“Such foreign investment demonstrates that Oxfordshire is recognised around the world as a place that can support innovation-led growth, greater productivity and major ‘place potential’ as we move towards an ever-increasing internationally-focussed economy.”

Mr Tipple added that – as the UK approaches its withdrawal from the European Union – the level of international investment being secured within Oxfordshire will act as further reassurance to business leaders, both within and outside the county, unsure as what negotiations will bring.

Mr Tipple added: “Again – our message to the Oxfordshire business community and beyond continues to be one of reassurance.

“Business leaders maybe concerned as to what Brexit terms will be negotiated, but our county’s economy is one of the most agile anywhere and has the proven ability to create opportunities.

“We have seen the creation of around 43,000 new jobs over the past five years and we continue to offer one of the best SME five-year survival rates anywhere in the UK.

“The DIT’s foreign direct investment figures demonstrate that our economy is being earmarked by international investors, who see the continued global benefits and potential offered by the Oxfordshire economy.”

OxLEP has helped to secure over £600m of central government funds for the Oxfordshire economy since its launch in 2011. Currently – it oversees a growth programme worth £2.2bn.

For more information on local and national figures, go to the DIT website