Indian businesses boost UK earnings

Report underlining importance of sub-continent to former colonial power released on day Indian travellers are banned from entering the country 

Indian businesses boost UK earnings
A non-governmental organisation (NGO) volunteer wearing a protective gear urges people in a market to wear facemasks as part of an awareness drive against the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus in Siliguri on April 23, 2021. Photo: AFP

(ATF) Indian companies in the UK increased their economic contribution to local GDP last year, according to a report released on the day that the former colonial power closed its doors to travellers from the sub-continent.

Almost £51 billion of turnover was reported by 850 Indian companies that operate in the UK in 2020, the study by accountancy firm Grant Thornton found. That’s up from £41bn generated by 842 firms the year before.

While the details highlight the importance of Indians to the UK’s economy, the authorities in Westminster have added the world’s largest democracy to its red list of countries from which travel is banned.

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British and Irish travellers are unaffected but they will have to quarantine for 10 days upon arrival.

The barriers were lowered midnight Thursday in response to surging coronavirus cases in India. More than 300,000 people have been diagnosed with Covid in the past days. On Thursday it reported more than 315,000, the highest of any country in the world.

UK health authorities are concerned a new variant of the virus identified in India, which they fear could spread faster and be better able to adapt to vaccines, will be brought into the country. A handful of cases have already been identified in the UK, but experts aren’t sure how much more potent or deadly it is than other variants.

Prime Ministers

“We appreciate people have to travel for business, and that there are huge links between ourselves and India [but] the situation has worsened an incredible amount in the last few days,” digital and culture minister Caroline Dinenage told Sky News.

Already UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has cancelled a visit to Delhi where he was to meet his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi in his first major overseas trip. 

The Grant Thornton report also highlights how Indian firms employ 116,046 people and paid £462 million in tax to the Treasury. Indians also stuck by UK markets during past few years of economic and political turmoil, it said.

“During 2020, despite continued uncertainty over the final outcome of the UK’s exit from the European Union, the research finds that Indian investors have continued to invest in the UK,” the report states. “They were involved in 10 acquisitions (the highest of any single EU country) throughout the year, including four in the technology and telecoms industry and two in manufacturing.”

Tech form Birlasoft Solutions was named as the fastest-growing company, posting 158% revenue growth. 

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