HC Deb 31 October 2002 vol 391 cc969-70W
25. Mr. Jenkins

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will make a statement on the trends in inward investment to the UK since 1997 with special reference to start-up companies and businesses which have since gone bankrupt. [76445]

Alan Johnson

For the financial years 1997–98 to 2000–01, Invest-UK recorded a steady increase year on year of inward investment decisions to invest in the UK from 631 in 1997–98 to 881 in 2000–01. This increase also applied to the number of new projects by either existing foreign owned companies already operating in the UK or by companies locating here for the first time from 192 in 1997–98 to 500 in 2000–01.

There is no requirement on companies to notify Invest-UK of decisions to invest in the UK and so the figures are based only on information volunteered by companies. There are no statistics available which show the number of inward investors which have gone bankrupt.

In 2001–02 there was a drop in project numbers to 827, of which 350 were new projects. This was consistent with the fall in investment levels across the world due to the global economic downturn which critically affected many sectors worldwide. International business confidence was also severely depressed in the aftermath of the 11 September tragedy.

However, figures for 2001 published in September by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) confirm the UK's premier position in Europe. The UK had $496,776 million stock of inward investment, this figure is second only to the US. My noble Friend the Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean, Invest-UK in British Trade International and the development agencies will continue to work hard to ensure that the UK remains the No. 1 location in Europe for inward investment.