Speaking to Investment Week, Johnson explained the “white hot” activity fundamental to the nation’s growth is the “new economy”, which begins with university spinouts and the commercialisation of intellectual property.
Within this, he highlighted the “clean tech revolution”, alongside artificial intelligence, quantum processing and fusion technology, while also pointing to fintech firms in the financial space.
Ahead of this month’s Global Investment Summit, Johnson added the UK was seen a “free, liberal, markets nation”, with a good regulatory environment, but insisted it cannot rest on its laurels.
“We have to keep running to stand still,” he said.
Renaissance of British regional capital
Johnson reflected on the change in the UK over the past decade, admitting he had been “completely wrong” about the metro mayors.
“I assumed it was a gimmick,” Johnson said. “Like many, I thought it was another layer of bureaucracy.
“But I was completely wrong.”
He praised the elected mayoralty system for providing an “important focal point for civic ambition”, which, alongside the levelling-up agenda, has helped to shift the focus of foreign investors.
“There has been a renaissance of British regional capital,” Johnson said, adding that “nearly all” of his conversations with sovereign investors and major pension funds had shifted their focus across the UK, including North East England, Scotland, Central England and Belfast.