Rishi Sunak bids to drum up foreign investment at Hampton Court summit | Financial sector

Rishi Sunak has said companies have pledged to invest nearly £30bn in the UK as he prepares to meet leading business figures at Hampton Court in an effort to drum up foreign investment.

The government said £29.5bn of new investment had been earmarked for the UK, including projects by the ScottishPower owner, Iberdrola, and BioNTech, the German company which partnered with Pfizer on its Covid vaccine.

Sunak will meet the heads of multinational firms including Goldman Sachs, Blackstone and JP Morgan at the summit in south-west London, before the business leaders later dine at Buckingham Palace with King Charles.

Predictions for UK growth were slashed at last week’s autumn statement, heaping pressure on the government to show signs it is acting to breathe life into an economy hit hard by rampant inflation.

At the summit, the prime minister will hold a “keynote conversation” with Steve Schwarzman, the chair and co-founder of investment firm Blackstone while the chancellor, Jeremy Hunt, will later host a panel including Jamie Dimon, the JP Morgan chief, and Khaldoon Al Mubarak of Mubadala Investment Company, also the chair of Manchester City.

David Cameron, who has returned to government as the foreign secretary, will host a discussion on “geopolitics and the global economy”.

Sunak said: “Global CEOs are right to back Britain – we are making this the best place in the world to invest and do business.”

But Labour shadow trade and business secretary, Jonathan Reynolds, said: “The past 13 years of Conservative government has been marked by a complete lack of stability, consistency and ambition which has turned potential investors away from Britain.”

The government hailed a string of investments alongside the summit: a £10bn commitment from Australia’s IFM Investors into energy and infrastructure; £7bn from Iberdrola into UK electricity transmission and £5bn from Australia’s Aware Super into energy and housing businesses.

BioNTech, which developed the mRNA Covid jab, is to build a new laboratory in Cambridge, while Microsoft is to plough £2.5bn into AI infrastructure.

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It is unclear which of the projects, if any, were a direct result of the investment summit.

The former prime minister Boris Johnson held a similar summit, at London’s Science Museum in October 2021, attended by high-profile business figures including Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates. They were later hosted by the Queen at Windsor Castle.

Most of the £9.7bn in investments pledged alongside that summit – including £6bn into offshore windfarms from Iberdrola – is still “in progress”, the government has said.


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