Edinburgh named as UK’s top city for inward investment

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Edinburgh is the most attractive city in the UK for inward investment but will need to invest heavily in areas such as affordable housing to avoid being overtaken by other major centres, according to a new report published today.

The Scottish capital’s strong economy, highly skilled workforce and innovative culture are among factors which have placed it ahead of the likes of London, Oxford and Cambridge in the report by global consultancy Arcadis. Glasgow comes in at eighth in the league table of 24 key cities in the UK, just behind London.

Edinburgh was ranked first in the report, while Glasgow was placed eighth. Picture: Steven Scott Taylor

Edinburgh was ranked first in the report, while Glasgow was placed eighth. Picture: Steven Scott Taylor

Although Edinburgh currently tops the UK rankings and the report says it has the potential to rival any city in the world, it also warns that it needs high levels of investment to accommodate continuing growth. Failing to deal with the added pressures on housing and infrastructure could see the city lose ground to others.

“Edinburgh needs to ensure that the speed of its economic growth doesn’t surpass its ability to invest in housing and infrastructure,” the report says.

”While it benefits from having strong business fundamentals already in place, some additional improvements – including more affordable housing and an environment that fosters invention and the creation of patents – could mean that its strength as a magnet for investment rivals that of any other city worldwide.” The report also cites improving air quality in the city as a key lever for attracting investment.

The “Investing in Britain: Cities Built for the Future” report ranks 24 cities based on their performance across six key areas seen as crucial for future inward investment and growth potential. They include business environment, workforce and skills, infrastructure performance, housing, place and city brand.

The report said key factors for Glasgow to be able to attract more inward investment include improving school performance and capacity.

Graham Hill, Arcadis executive for Scottish cities, said although Edinburgh is performing well, it could be world-leading if some fundamental issues are addressed.

“Truly investable cities are not only those with the most mature economies but, like Edinburgh, have to demonstrate they can also offer a healthy and attractive place for people to live. It is imperative that Edinburgh’s future growth isn’t constrained by a lack of affordable housing or transport not keeping pace with changing demographics and new technology.” Hill added that every city region in Scotland needs to look at “what it has to offer, and how it can make the most of it”.