British premier wants Singapore investors to tap opportunities in north England

British Premier David Cameron at an event in Singapore. PHOTO: SPH
British Premier David Cameron at an event in Singapore. PHOTO: SPH
British premier David Cameron speaks to Singapore investors at an event in Singapore on July 29, 2015. PHOTO: RACHAEL BOON
British premier David Cameron speaks to Singapore investors at an event in Singapore on July 29, 2015. PHOTO: RACHAEL BOON

SINGAPORE - British Prime Minister David Cameron urged Singapore investors to widen their horizons beyond London while looking for investment opportunities in his country.

Speaking at a seminar on Wednesday, Mr Cameron highlighted opportunities in the north of England even as he emphasised on the need for strong business ties between Singapore and Britain.

"We would encourage you (Singapore investors) to look at Britain in a new way," he told attendees at the seminar held at Unilever's training facility in one-north

"There are plenty of investment opportunities of course in London and the south-east, but look again at the north of England."

That includes cities Liverpool, Manchester, and Leeds, and they are part of a plan - referred to as the Northern Powerhouse - to boost their economic status.

Technology is also an area where Britain and Singapore can work together, said Mr Cameron, who is on his first official visit to the Republic.

He gave an example of FutureEverything, a firm from Manchester that deals with digital innovation and culture. The firm won a £500,000 (S$1.06 million) contract to bring its long-running festival to Singapore later this year, he said.

Ms Nicole Eagan, chief executive of UK cybersecurity firm Darktrace, who was part of Mr Cameron's trade delegation, noted that the growing frequency and sophistication of cyber attacks mean that countries should work more closely together.

Referring to an cyber security agreement between Britain and Singapore, she added: "This agreement between Britain and Singapore is indicative of a growing trend towards international co-operation to combat cyber threats.

"The old systems and the old approaches to cyber security simply don't work anymore, whether that's individual countries trying to go it alone or whether it's organisations thinking they can keep intruders out of their networks."

The second-term British premier is on a two-day visit to Singapore since Tuesday, and is accompanied by two business delegations. Singapore is the second stop of Mr Cameron's four-nation tour of South-east Asia, which includes Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam.

rachaelb@sph.com.sg