The United Kingdom is a leading business location and boasts the major attraction of London, one of the world’s leading financial centres. As Europe’s leading country for new foreign direct investment projects the UK is a rich and diverse market which many businesses choose to set up in.

Companies are able to set up within 24 hours in the UK and it is easy to see why so many choose to do so. With extensive travel links including the second largest ports industry and the largest air transport system in Europe, the UK allows close proximity and easy access to customers, suppliers and partners.

The UK not only has a competitive tax rate system, but also the joint lowest corporate tax in the G20 making it a simple and straightforward country to do business in. With the second largest labour force in the EU, the UK has a diverse and innovative pool for businesses to choose from in order to grow and develop.

Top 5 sectors generating the most UK projects in the UK, 2019

Top 5 sectors in the UK for FDI

Source: EY European Investment Monitor (EIM), 2020

At the heart of business in the UK is London, a distinguished global business hub and the most attractive European city for foreign investors. The city offers a business friendly environment with valuable office hours which coincide with countries that together produce 99% of the world’s GDP. Although London is a booming location for business, there are many other cities around the UK which serve as an excellent base for setting up business including Newcastle, Birmingham, Glasgow and Edinburgh.

Top 10 cities in the UK for FDI (excluding London), 2019

Source: EY European Investment Monitor (EIM), 2020

While the law in the UK differs significantly from other jurisdictions, it’s internationally recognised for its flexibility, certainty and transparency of outcome. In combination with high-quality practitioners with international expertise, English law is now the most popular choice of law in the world for commercial contracts and it governs about 40% of all global corporate arbitrations.

It is important to note that the UK is compromised of different legal jurisdictions and although there are many similarities, there are different legal and regulatory compliance requirements within Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland. This guide covers the UK as a whole and not each jurisdiction individually and unless otherwise stated, covers the requirements in England. For anyone setting up UK-wide a quick regional check is recommended to ensure full compliance across each region.

This guide is aimed at businesses who are looking to expand or invest into the UK. At Burness Paull we are passionate about helping businesses to invest in the UK and we can guide you through the legal and regulatory landscape to make sure your business has the best possible start.

Read our guide here.