Boris Johnson has announced almost £10 billion of overseas investment in Britain before a global summit in an attempt to trump Emmanuel Macron’s efforts to lure businesses to France.
The prime minister said that the 18 new trade and investment pledges would “power our economic recovery”, creating 30,000 jobs in sectors such as wind and hydrogen energy, and environmentally friendly homes.
Foreign companies have made fresh commitments before a global investment summit in London today in which nearly 200 business leaders will network with ministers and attend a reception with the Queen at Windsor Castle.
Ministers are understood to be keen to ensure that the total investment would beat the €3.5 billion (£3 billion) of deals announced by President Macron at his annual “Choose France” networking event.
The biggest pledge is from Iberdrola, the Spanish energy company behind Scottish Power, which plans to invest £6 billion in offshore wind farms off the coast of Norfolk. The East Anglia Hub, which is subject to planning permission, would supply green energy to 2.7 million homes and create 7,000 jobs.
Prologis, the American warehouse developer, said that it planned to invest £1.5 billion in developing net-zero carbon warehouses in England in the next three years. Eren Paper, owned by Turkey’s Eren Holding, is investing £500 million to buy a mill in Shotton, north Wales, to produce cardboard from paper waste. Petra Group, the Malaysian conglomerate, will invest £30 million to establish a modular homes business, creating 225 jobs.
Bill Gates, who is due to attend, will take part in a panel discussion with the prime minister on the global energy transition and the role of the private sector in tackling climate change. BlackRock’s Larry Fink, JP Morgan’s Jamie Dimon and Jes Staley of Barclays are also expected to take part.
The prime minister and Liz Truss, the foreign secretary, will host a dinner for 20 business leaders including Gates and David Solomon, chief executive of Goldman Sachs, in Downing Street tonight. In the City, a separate dinner for 320 business leaders will be hosted by Rishi Sunak.
The Department for International Trade has identified projects including a biomanufacturing facility in Tees Valley, an advanced manufacturing innovation district in Paisley, Scotland, and net-zero transport technologies in Coventry and Warwickshire.