1. Main points

  • Nearly half (47.1%) of trading respondents with FDI links reported no effect on turnover compared with normal expectations in early January 2021; the proportion of respondents reporting no effect was 12.3 percentage points higher (59.4%) by late December 2021. 

  • The proportions of respondents reporting lower-than-expected turnover decreased between January and December 2021; the proportion for companies with FDI links was 19.4 percentage points lower (at 16.5%), and 17.7 percentage points lower (to 28.9%) for those without FDI links. 

  • Over half of respondents with FDI links reported having cash reserves that would last more than six months in each wave of 2021; this proportion increased from 53.2% in early January 2021, reaching 62.2% in mid-April 2021.

  • On average in 2021, higher proportions of companies with outward FDI links reported cash reserves lasting longer than six months (56.9%) compared with companies with inward FDI links (50.1%); companies with both inward and outward FDI links had the highest proportion (59.8%) of all link types.

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4. Business insights in the UK data

Business insights and impact on the UK economy
Dataset | Released 13 July 2023
Weighted estimates from the voluntary fortnightly business survey (BICS) about financial performance, workforce, prices, trade, and business resilience.

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5. Glossary

Foreign direct investment (FDI) 

Foreign direct investment (FDI) is cross-border investment made with the objective of establishing a lasting interest in the host economy. FDI is also defined by control relationships, where the direct investor (parent company) controls at least 10% of the voting power (ordinary shares) of the direct investment enterprise. These relationships can be measured in two directions: outward and inward. Outward refers to the direct investments of UK-resident companies in other countries, while inward refers to the direct investments in the UK from non-resident companies. 


Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that cause disease in people and animals. They can cause the common cold or more severe diseases, such as COVID-19. 


COVID-19 is the name used to refer to the disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which is a type of coronavirus. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) takes COVID-19 to mean the presence of SARS-CoV-2 with or without symptoms. 

Cash reserves 

The money a company has available to meet short-term and emergency funding needs.

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6. Data sources and quality

Business Insights and Conditions Survey 

The Business Insights and Conditions Survey (BICS) is a fortnightly online questionnaire from a sample of approximately 39,000 businesses. Respondents are asked for their experiences at the time of answering the questionnaire, or over a stated reference period.  

Results presented in this article are a variation from the regular published BICS data and are based on a subset of the BICS sample. We used unweighted results, which are not directly comparable with the fortnightly Business insights and impact on the UK economy bulletins. Additionally, the sample is not necessarily representative of all UK companies: inferences are only relevant to the businesses that responded. 

Dates of the reference and survey live period of each wave of the BICS can be found on the Business insights and impact on the UK economy dataset webpage

More quality and methodology information on strengths, limitations, appropriate uses, and how the data were created is available in our Business Insights and Conditions Survey (BICS) QMI

Foreign Direct Investment Survey 

The main source of information for UK foreign direct investment (FDI) statistics is the annual Foreign Direct Investment Survey; separate surveys are used to collect data on inward and outward FDI. The samples for the FDI Survey are taken from the annual populations, which are informed by the previous survey responses of companies and the Inter-Departmental Business Register. A commercial data source was also used to inform the FDI population from 2020 onwards. This is combined with data from the Bank of England for all monetary financial institutions, such as banks, and other sources for property and public corporations in FDI. 

More quality and methodology information on strengths, limitations, appropriate uses, and how UK total FDI statistics were calculated is available in our Foreign direct investment QMI

Data linking 

This article links respondents to BICS with the FDI population at the enterprise level. This is because various parts of the multinational enterprise might be selected for each survey, which makes it harder to link those responses. By using the enterprise group, this identifies respondents to BICS that have a reporting unit somewhere in their UK corporate structure that also have at least one link with a foreign parent company or affiliate. This means it may not necessarily be the BICS reporting unit itself with the link to a foreign company.

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8. Cite this article

Office for National Statistics (ONS), released 24 July 2023, ONS website, article, Foreign direct investment, business insights in the UK: January 2021 to January 2022

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Manylion cyswllt ar gyfer y Erthygl

Andrew Jowett
Ffôn: +44 1633 455357