Published: 6th Jun 2016

Does it really matter if foreign investors own our ports, airports, utility companies, commercial and high-end residential properties and swathes of local infrastructure? The government is clearly not worried. The presence of cash-rich overseas investors in London and (to a lesser extent) in the city regions is viewed by ministers as a justifiable alternative to public investment. Why spend taxpayers’ money or seek out British investors, like local authority pension funds, when you can attract sovereign wealth funds from China, UAE, Saudi Arabia and elsewhere with the promise of government-backed financial guarantees that are off the public accounts. But it’s not so simple. As the Smith Institute’s latest booklet ‘Britain for sale? Perspectives on the costs and benefits of foreign investment’ argues, the UK’s growing reliance on overseas investment is far from risk free. Leaving aside the fact that most of the sovereign wealth funds and some of the large … (To read the full article, subscribe below)