Ministers forced to delay flagship global investment summit
The second Global Investment Summit will now take place later than the government’s previously announced October date.
Ministers have been forced to delay a major event aimed at showcasing Britain’s credentials as a world-leading investment destination.
Sky News has learnt that the government is urgently seeking to finalise a date for its second Global Investment Summit (GIS), three months after publicly announcing that it would take place in October.
Whitehall sources said the summit was now expected to take place the following month because of scheduling challenges relating to diary commitments and logistics.
The inaugural event was held in October 2021 at the Science Museum, and was attended by prominent business figures including Bill Gates, the Microsoft founder, and Jamie Dimon, chairman and CEO of JP Morgan Chase.
Boris Johnson, the then prime minister, hailed £9.7bn of foreign direct investment deals announced that day, which the government said would be responsible for creating 30,000 British jobs.
In February, the government said this year's GIS would be attended by more than 200 bosses of multinational companies and investment corporations.
"The next Global Investment Summit is an opportunity to demonstrate what we can do as a nation, delivering on our ambition to be a world-leading destination for international finance and investment," Rishi Sunak, the prime minister, said.
Insiders at the Department for Business and Trade (DBT) said that Kemi Badenoch, its secretary of state, had made clear her priority to make the UK the leading investment destination in Europe.
They confirmed that this year's event would highlight British successes in areas including life sciences, deep tech, nuclear fusion and small modular reactors.
It would also, they added, seek to demonstrate that capital investment in Britain was being unlocked by post-Brexit financial liberalisation measures included in the 'Edinburgh reforms' outlined by the chancellor, Jeremy Hunt, earlier this year.
A separate investment summit aimed at driving more inward investment into Northern Ireland is expected to take place in September.
One government official acknowledged that there would be "a short delay" from the originally announced October date but added: "The important thing is that this summit is going ahead."
"Events like this will help deliver this and show the world's biggest investors just what a strong investment prospect the UK can offer," Ms Badenoch said in February.
She added: "Overseas investment has already led to 85,000 new jobs in 2021/22 alone, and I want us to go further, driving growth and putting more money in the pockets of hardworking Brits."
Preparations for the event come at a delicate time for perceptions of the UK as an inward investment destination, with car manufacturers including the Vauxhall-owner Stellantis warning of potential factory closures because of post-Brexit rules.
Sir James Dyson, the founder of the eponymous electrical goods brand, has been an outspoken critic of government policy, warning recently that the ambition of becoming a science and technology superpower had been reduced "to a political slogan".