Business

Foreign investment deals to create 30,000 UK jobs, says government

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to announce 18 new deals worth £9.7bn as he opens a global investment summit.

They include investments in sectors such as wind and hydrogen energy, sustainable homes and carbon capture.

The prime minister said investors had recognised “the massive potential in the UK for growth and innovation”.

Investments from companies such as Spanish energy firm Iberdrola, logistics firm Prologis and grocery service Getir would power the UK’s economic recovery and help to achieve the government’s levelling up agenda, he added.

Mr Johnson will open the Global Investment Summit in London on Tuesday, bringing together more than 200 business executives.

The government has assembled a formidable guest list of the great and good of global business for an investment summit it hopes will alert other international investors to opportunities in the UK.

The bosses of the world’s biggest investment firm, Blackrock, the biggest bank in the US, JP Morgan, as well as the top brass from energy giants such as EDF will gather at the Science Museum in London.

Announcements of nearly £10bn in investment in the UK have been timed to coincide with the event.

By far the biggest single investment is from Spanish firm Iberdrola, which owns Scottish Power. Its announcement of a further £6bn in offshore wind investment – on top of £10bn over the last five years – will cement the UK’s position as a world leader in offshore wind, just two weeks before the major climate summit in Glasgow.

The recent spike in gas prices has brutally exposed UK and EU reliance on fossil fuels, which may also encourage French firm EDF that their plans for a new nuclear plant at Sizewell in Suffolk will get government blessing. The chairman of EDF is due to have a breakfast meeting with the Business Secretary, Kwasi Kwarteng.

The government will hope this summit will help reverse a declining trend in foreign investment in new projects since 2015.

Later, Mr Johnson will take part in a panel discussion with Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Bill Gates on the role of private companies in tackling climate change.

Iberdrola, which owns Scottish Power, will confirm that it will invest a further £6bn in off-shore wind farms off the coast of Suffolk.

The wind turbines in its East Anglia “hub” are set to create about 7,000 jobs – although they have yet to secure planning permission.

Prologis will commit to invest £1.5bn in the UK over the next three years to develop net zero carbon warehouses across London, the South East and the Midlands, supporting about 14,000 new jobs.

“We believe private sector innovation has, and will continue to play, a major role in overcoming the environmental challenges the world faces today,” said Prologis chief executive Hamid Moghadam.

Meanwhile, Getir plans to put more money into expanding its activities across the UK. The firm uses a fleet of electric vehicles and is aiming to create about 7,000 permanent jobs in 2022.

Ultimate Battery Company will also invest £28m in setting up a UK plant for eco-friendly batteries.

On Tuesday, the UK government is expected to announce its overall strategy for radically reducing the greenhouse gas emissions generated in across all sectors including industry, agriculture, transport and homes.

The government has pledged to reduce emissions sharply by 2035 and to reach net zero by 2050 – meaning the country will absorb as much carbon dioxide (through actions such as tree planting) as it emits.

The announcements come just two weeks before the start of the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow – one of the largest world meetings to date on how to tackle global warming.