With my right honourable friend, the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, I am pleased to inform the House that in these difficult times for the global economy, the UK is maintaining its status as a world-class business destination.
UK Trade and Investment has announced today, in its launch of UK Inward Investment Results 2008-09, that there were 1,744 direct investments in the UK by foreign-owned companies between 1 April 2008 and 31 March 2009, as reported by UK Trade and Investment and its partner agencies in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the English regional development agencies. This is an increase of 11 per cent on the year before and confirms that international business has continued to select the UK as the preferred investment location in Europe, second only globally to the United States of America. Through this foreign direct investment, 78,540 new and safeguarded jobs have been delivered to the UK.
At a time of global economic downturn, inward investment is a long-term decision for any company seeking to grow internationally. In the current climate, more investors are seeking to locate in the UK than anywhere else in Europe, helping to underpin the long-term economic prospects of the UK’s business environment. The number of new projects has increased by 26 per cent from 653 in 2007-08 to 827 in 2008-09 and there were 460 expansions by existing investors, up by 5 per cent from 436 the previous year. In line with reduced global market liquidity, the number of acquisitions, joint ventures and mergers taking place is down 6 per cent from 484 in 2007-08 to 457 in 2008-09.
Companies are seeking to invest internationally earlier in their life cycles than at any time previously to fund their growth. The UK has positioned itself as a springboard for global growth for companies seeking to grow both in the UK and internationally from a UK base. UK Trade and Investment is the government organisation leading support for such companies in the international business environment.
I am arranging for a copy of the UK inward investment report 2008-09 to be placed in the Library of the House.