TWO hundred of the UK’s biggest businesses are being targeted as part of a new Scottish Development International campaign to attract inward investment to Scotland.
The First Minister has made a direct pitch to hundreds of company chiefs as part of his speech to the annual Institute of Directors convention at the O2 in London. Alex Salmond is also writing personally to the CEOs of some of Britain’s biggest businesses highlighting the benefits of investing in Scotland.
Aiming to reach major UK companies that currently do not have operations here, the campaign is spreading the message that Scotland is open for business – and for some key functions costs can be 30 per cent cheaper than other parts of the UK.
The First Minister said:“Scotland is already an economic success story and we make no apologies for going after new business at every opportunity. We perform better economically than everywhere else in the UK bar the south-east of England and that brings major business opportunities.
“Even without our offshore oil and gas reserves Scotland has the highest GDP in the UK outside London and the south-east.
“We have 10 per cent of Europe’s wave energy resources, 25 per cent of its tidal energy resources and 25 per cent of its offshore wind – and less than 1% of Europe’s population.
“We have five universities in the world’s top 200, we rank first in the world in research productivity per unit of GDP and second in the world in research impact.
“Business operating costs for key functions can be almost a third lower here.
“This campaign takes that message right to the heart of the City, taking over the Reuters Digital Billboard at Canary Wharf where it will be seen by more than 600,000 people per week.
“Scottish Development International’s campaign is backed by a number of companies already investing in Scotland – Amazon, Gamesa, Avaloq, GlaxoSmithKline, Mitsubishi and Ceridian – and the message is absolutely clear.
“Scotland is a land of major opportunity and it is open for business.”
Anne MacColl, chief executive of Scottish Development International, said: “This campaign is part of a global drive to attract new investment to Scotland. There has been a significant level of inward investment success over the last twelve months and SDI is building on this with a continued focus on securing new, sustainable jobs and opportunities.
“It is clear that Scotland remains a location of choice due to our winning combination of qualities. These include our highly skilled and educated workforce and highly efficient operating costs.
“During challenging economic times, this is an excellent opportunity to highlight our competitive advantages to some of the UK’s biggest companies.”