Wales politics

Dramatic rise in foreign investment projects in Wales

UKTI report
Image caption Altogether there has been a 11% rise in investment projects in the UK

There has been a 191% rise in the number of investments by foreign companies into Wales, official UK government figures have revealed.

The number of projects went up from 23 to 67 in the last financial year.

It confirms First Minister Carwyn Jones's statement in May that there had been a large increase in the number of inward investment projects.

UK ministers said the figures were a "vote of confidence in the talent, expertise and skills of our workforce".

The latest information was released by UK Trade and Investment (UKTI), the UK government department responsible for exports and inward investment.

UKTI's inward investment annual report says Wales saw a 191% rise in the number of projects, compared with a 41% increase in Northern Ireland, a 16% rise in Scotland and a 10% increase in England, excluding London.

There was also an indication of an improvement from a survey by the accountants Ernst and Young in June which described Wales' performance in the inward investment field as "sparkling."

UKTI has not yet published a breakdown of the number of jobs created or safeguarded by these projects but the Welsh government said they resulted in the creation of 2,605 jobs and safeguarded 4,442 in the 2012/13 financial year.

Despite the big rise in the number of projects, Wales' share of the UK total inward investment accounts for 4%, which is historically much lower than the high point of the 1980s and 1990s.

In the 1990's, Wales used to secure around 15% of all inward investment projects into the UK.

The number of jobs created by foreign companies is much lower than the years before the financial crisis.

Between 2005 and 2008 the average number of jobs created by inward investment projects was 5,600, significantly higher than last year.

The cash value of the investments has also not yet been revealed.

Mr Jones said: "These latest UKTI inward investment figures for Wales are extremely encouraging and indicate a significant improvement in the share of the UK's inward investment coming to Wales in 2012/13.

Image caption Newport is the site of a major industrial gasworks construction site

"The report shows the number of inward investment projects for Wales rose by almost 200% on the previous year, while the number of jobs created and safeguarded in Wales increased by almost 100%.

"We are not complacent with this improvement, and continue to work very closely with business leaders and organisations to better promote Wales and the Welsh brand across the world," he added.

UK ministers said the figures were a "vote of confidence in the talent, expertise and skills of our workforce".

Wales Office Minister Stephen Crabb said: "Today's figures are very encouraging and underline Wales's growing reputation once again as a leading destination for foreign direct investment.

"From the commitment by HDM Steel Pipe to set up a factory in Cardiff, to the growing order book for Airbus wings made in Broughton, the growth in private sector activity is rebalancing the Welsh economy and helping to make it a great place to invest."

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