The Government is to make it “easier than ever” to invest in the UK as it prepares to unveil £15bn of new infrastructure projects this week.
Danny Alexander, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, this weekend hailed foreign investment as a “win-win” situation as he announced plans to attract investment for 14 individual schemes this week, including Scottish wind farms and a Welsh motor racing regeneration plan.
The announcement came in the wake of statistics which indicated that foreign investment in the UK last year reached its highest level for more than a quarter of a century.
Nearly 1,800 projects – which created almost 67,000 new jobs last year – were funded by overseas investors, according to a report from UK Trade & Investment.
Scotland was the focus for a quarter of these new projects creating almost 21,000 new jobs, the report revealed.
David Cameron, the Prime Minister, welcomed foreign investment into the country ahead of a showcase of new infrastructure projects to be held at the Commonwealth Games Business Conference in Glasgow.
“I promise this Government will continue to work on behalf of every hard-working business in the UK to drum up trade, encourage investment and pave the way for growth so we can generate jobs, pay our way in the world, and create stability, security and a brighter future for our country,” Mr Cameron said.
Mr Alexander will lead the two-day event in Glasgow which starts on Tuesday and will include representatives from oil giant Shell and Temasek International, part of the Singaporean sovereign wealth fund.
“The UK is one of the best places to invest in the world – we need to capitalise on that success,” Mr Alexander said.
“Top-quality infrastructure, such as road, rail and energy and digital, fuels growth and improves our daily lives. That’s why foreign investment into our infrastructure is a win-win situation,” he added.
The US led the way as the largest source of investment into the UK by funding around 500 new projects, almost five times the level of Japan and France who were next in the top 10.
The UK manufacturing industry attracted the most inward investment last year and this added about 37,000 jobs to the economy.
Energy and infrastructure was also a popular destination for overseas money and about 310 new projects created 31,000 new jobs.
Lord Livingston, minister for trade and investment and a former chief executive of BT, hailed an “exceptional year” for foreign investment as the new projects created the highest number of new UK jobs since the beginning of the millennium.
The recovering economy in the UK has made it the number one destination for foreign investment throughout Europe.
Lord Livingston added that the “business friendly” environment gave companies the confidence to invest in this country.