A strong performance by Swindon and Wiltshire in attracting business investment from overseas has helped the UK achieve the highest number of inward investment projects since records began in the 1980s, new figures show.
In the Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) area, 10 new investment projects were started by overseas companies in 2013/14, creating 186 jobs and safeguarding a further 962.
The area performed better than Gloucestershire where eight foreign investments are creating 50 jobs and safeguarding a further 580.
Across the whole of the South West there were 67 foreign investments, creating 1,627 jobs and safeguarding a further 3,903. Swindon has been a magnet for inward investment since the 1980s when it attracted major employers such as Honda, Intel and Motorola.
While the rate of investment has slowed since then, the town still ranks as a favourable location for overseas businesses due to its position on the M4, main railway line to London, low-cost business space and skilled, flexible workforce.
A total of 66,390 jobs were created nationally, the highest since 2001. In total 1,773 investment projects were set up by foreign businesses in the UK during the 2013/14 financial year, according to the figures from UK Trade and Investment (UKTI), the Government’s inward investment and export support body.
Trade Minister Lord Livingston said: “It’s been an exceptional year for foreign investment with record project numbers creating the highest number of new UK jobs since 2001.”
The UK continues to attract high-quality investment from around the globe both from our established economic partners in Europe, North America and Japan but also from key growing markets such as India and China.
The US led the way as the largest source of FDI projects for the UK, generating 501 projects, up 27%. The top Commonwealth country for FDI is Canada. Canadian investment reached new heights in 2013/14, with 89 projects, up an encouraging 41%.
European companies also demonstrated increased interest in the UK. The two largest European contributors were France and Germany, both delivering over 100 projects, representing rises of 18% and 31% respectively.