My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (Alistair Darling) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.
UK Trade and Investment announced today, at its launch of the UK inward investment 2005-06 report, that there were 1,220 direct investments in the UK by foreign-owned companies between 1 April 2005 and 31 March 2006. This is an increase of 14 per cent on the year before, which was itself almost a third up on the year before, and overall the best ever recorded number of foreign investments. This confirms the UK's position as the top investment location in Europe. Total direct new jobs are down 14 per cent on last year, to 34,077. However, total associated jobs are up by 19 per cent on last year to 89,866, of which 34,077 were new jobs and 55,789 safeguarded jobs.
This performance reflects the confidence which companies around the world continue to show in the business climate in the UK. Also, 26 per cent of projects involved inward investors expanding their presence here, which generated nearly 65 per cent of all the new jobs created, while mergers/acquisitions and joint ventures were up 42 per cent on last year.
UK industry deserves the very best support. That is why UKTI will soon be publishing its forward-looking strategy. It will further strengthen and sharpen its operations in priority markets and the Government will continue to ensure that the UK provides economic growth and stability and an innovative climate to attract investment.
I am arranging for a copy of the UK inward investment 2005-06 report to be placed in the Libraries of the House.