HC Deb 26 June 1991 vol 193 cc502-4W
Mr. Ian Taylor

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make a statement on the United Kingdom's performance in attracting internationally mobile inward investment projects in 1990–91.

Mr. Leigh

My Department's Invest in Britain Bureau —IBB—announced in its annual report published today that 1990–91 saw a record for manufacturing and service sector for investment—and jobs—coming to the United Kingdom.

Between 1 April 1990 and 31 March 1991, 350 direct investment projects by foreign-owned companies into the United Kingdom were recorded by the IBB. Based on information provided by the companies at the time of the announcement, it is estimated that these projects will create or safeguard about 62,000 jobs.

Every one of these companies is expressing their belief in the underlying strength of the United Kingdom economy, and the climate of enterprise and initiative we have created here. Every one of them is endorsing the skills, productivity and trainability of our workforce. Every one of them is expressing a confidence in this country's future.

The figures are testament to some very hard and very effective work by the IBB itself, by Foreign and Commonwealth Office staff overseas, and by the territorial, regional and local authorities.

We all appreciate the jobs that foreign-owned companies have brought to the United Kingdom. But these companies bring more than just jobs. They bring strength to the economy. They also bring technology transfer. Five new Japanese R and D establishment set up in the United Kingdom last year. This brings the total number to 13. It is this kind of quality, long-term investment, associated with manufacturing, that is needed to see British science and industry in good stead into the next millenium.

I have asked the IBB to increase its efforts to attract R and D type investment, particularly covering the full range of integrated research, design and manufacturing.

They also bring huge gains in management skills transfer. That means being as good as the international competition in areas like total quality management, simultaneous engineering and "Just In time". It also means building long-term relationships with suppliers.

The IBB annual report is all about the long-term profitability and competitiveness of United Kingdom Incorporated. More overseas companies choose to invest here than anywhere in Europe. They do that for the very best reason—the United Kingdom is the place to do business.

I am arranging for a copy of the report to be placed in the House of Commons Library.

These totals exclude most retail and sales operations which are not the target for United Kingdom promotion.