The UK economy is benefiting from the “irresistible draw” of London internationally, according to a new report assessing Britain’s attractiveness to global investors

The Annual UK Attractiveness Survey by professional services firm EY finds that if London were a country it would be the fourth largest nation in Europe in terms of foreign direct investment projects.

Out of 799 projects attracted by the UK in 2013, 380 were secured by London – a rise in investment in the capital of 21% compared to the previous year. The city is particularly attractive for companies carrying out software and R&D projects, as well as those looking to investment in corporate headquarters.

The report urges the UK to exploit London’s strength more widely, for example by combining bids for multisite or multifunction projects, so that other regions can benefit from London’s pull.

As an example, it highlights the creation of MedCity, launched in April by Mayor of London Boris Johnson to join together the life sciences strengths of the London-Oxford-Cambridge golden triangle, as an important move to attract more bioscience investment both to London and across the UK’s regions.

Welcoming the report, Deputy Mayor for Business and Enterprise Kit Malthouse, said:

“London performs amazingly well as a place where the world wants to do business, particularly in the knowledge industries which rely on a skilled, educated workforce.

“That’s great news for the city, but the advantages reach out far beyond to benefit the UK as a whole. We want to work with other regions to combine our strengths to make this country’s offer to global companies world-beating – MedCity is a great example of how we can do that.”

See the full EY UK Attractiveness Survey here.