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Leigh Turner

Ambassador to Austria and UK Permanent Representative to the United Nations and other International Organisations in Vienna

Part of UK in Turkey

28th January 2013

Why is everyone investing in the UK? Why aren’t you?

Why is the Turkish company HDM Steel setting up a £7m manufacturing plant in South Wales?


Take a look at the world. Think about countries where you might possibly imagine investing your money. Do they have a solid record on stability and democracy? Do they rank highly on ease of doing business, with a predictable and transparent regulatory environment? Are the courts renowned for their fairness and efficiency? Do they have a world-class education system, a competitive tax regime and a gigantic and easily accessible market? Are they cosmopolitan and globally-minded? Do they speak a language you understand?

Look at it in the round, it’s no surprise that the United Kingdom is the leading destination in Europe for foreign direct investment (FDI).

The stock of FDI in the UK in 2011 was $1.2 trillion – the highest in Europe. An open and internationally-focused economy, the UK is a major market in its own right with over 60m tech-savvy early-adopting consumers. Corporation tax is 23% and will fall to 21% by 2014 – the lowest in the G7 and fourth-lowest in the G20.

The UK has four of the world’s top 10 universities. London is a city without parallel anywhere in the world both as a global storehouse of top talent and expertise and as a place to live (I know – I’ve lived there).

I won’t go on about the 40% of euro-denominated foreign exchange trading worldwide which takes place in the City of London, or the 62% of euro-denominated over-the-counter interest rate swaps – you get the picture. London is the world’s leading financial centre and a great place to raise investment funds.

So it’s actually no surprise at all that so many companies from Turkey and around the world are choosing to site factories, headquarters or research facilities in the UK. They’re welcome to come to the UK and make money. If you’re not investing in the UK yet – better get started. Your competitors may be there already.

About Leigh Turner

I hope you find this blog interesting and, where appropriate, entertaining. My role in Vienna covers the relationship between Austria and the UK as well as the diverse work of…

I hope you find this blog interesting and, where appropriate, entertaining. My role in Vienna covers the relationship between Austria and the UK as well as the diverse work of the UN and other organisations; stories here will reflect that.

About me: I arrived in Vienna in August 2016 for my second posting in this wonderful city, having first served here in the mid-1980s. My previous job was as HM Consul-General and Director-General for Trade and Investment for Turkey, Central Asia and South Caucasus based in Istanbul.

Further back: I grew up in Nigeria, Exeter, Lesotho, Swaziland and Manchester before attending Cambridge University 1976-79. I worked in several government departments before joining the Foreign Office in 1983.

Keen to go to Africa and South America, I’ve had postings in Vienna (twice), Moscow, Bonn, Berlin, Kyiv and Istanbul, plus jobs in London ranging from the EU Budget to the British Overseas Territories.

2002-6 I was lucky enough to spend four years in Berlin running the house, looking after the children (born 1992 and 1994) and doing some writing and journalism.

To return to Vienna as ambassador is a privilege and a pleasure. I hope this blog reflects that.