By Derek Mackay, Cabinet Secretary for Finance and the Constitution

BRINGING investment into Scotland is a key priority of the Scottish Government and one of the aims of our trade and investment strategy. Investment brings jobs, prosperity and and the revenues to support our public services. Put simply, we’re all better off when businesses locate here, invest here and create new jobs here.

Foreign Direct Investment plays a vital role in Scotland’s economy. In Scotland more than 2,300 foreign-owned companies employ a total of 317,000 staff and realise a combined turnover of £86 billion. And a recent study reported that for every £1 spent on attracting inward investment to Scotland, £9 is generated for the Scottish economy. In addition, investment in capital – through retail, commercial or industrial developments – is growing. The new St James Centre in Edinburgh, currently under construction, is a prime example of a world-class regeneration development funded in part by international capital. In 2017 investment in Scottish commercial property totalled £2.3bn with overseas investors accounting for more than one-third of that sum. These are compelling figures which underscore why it is vital that we continue to attracting international investment to Scotland.

And it’s not something that the Scottish Government is doing on its own. A team of public agencies has been working on establishing a portfolio of investment propositions from across the country that are ready for promoting and then presenting them to the investor market.

That’s why I am at Scotland House, our innovation and investment hub in London today, speaking to an audience of senior investors, fund managers and decision makers about the benefits of investing in Scotland.

The event, hosted by Scottish Development International and the Scottish Cities Alliance, working closely with the Scottish Property Federation, is an opportunity to highlight to major London-based investors a number of exciting investment propositions, including Aberdeen’s plans and investment opportunities for its ambitious Queen’s Square development, valued at up to £150 million; investment opportunities of around £250m rising through the creation of the Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District Scotland which will be an internationally-recognised centre for innovation, research and manufacturing in Renfrewshire and home to the new National Manufacturing Institute for Scotland; and Bothwell Exchange, a development opportunity of around £140 million in Glasgow’s International Financial Services District Business in Bothwell Street.

Each of these propositions has much to attract the canny investor. But offering a healthy return on investment is often not the only factor that can influence an investment decision. Other issues, such as planning, the surrounding infrastructure, transport links and digital connectivity all can come into play when looking at an investment opportunity in its totality. That is why we have taken a number of important steps to boost the attractiveness of Scotland as a destination for inward investment through ensuring that we have an ambitious, well defined infrastructure investment plan; are significantly investing in transformative transport and digital infrastructure projects; have modernised our business rates system, making it more flexible and responsive to the commercial property market; have created a modern, transparent and accountable land use planning system; and offer Innovative Finance models, such as the Growth Accelerator and our new Rental Income Guarantee Scheme.

Scotland is competitive. A report on European Cities and Regions of the Future produced by fDi magazine and published this month, scored Scotland in the top 10 for economic potential, connectivity, and business friendliness in the large regions category. It all adds up: Scotland is a great place to invest in.