Co-ordination of Inward Investment, First Report
of 1997-98, HC 355: Government Response, Fourth Special Report,
1. The inquiry was undertaken in response
to concerns that there had been competitive bidding between English
regions and the territorial authorities in the United KingdomScotland,
Wales and Northern Irelandfor major inward investment projects:
and in the light of the outline proposal for a concordat on investment,
following devolution. The Committee heard formal evidence in November
1997 and reported in December 1997.
2. The Committee's conclusion was that,
while there had been "a great deal of hype and exaggeration
based on figures of questionable validity", there had been
some cases of excessive public funding to attract inward investment,
as a result of potential inward investors "bidding up".
The Committee made a number of recommendations, including greater
transparency of the sums given, and a review of the Regional Selective
Assistance Scheme. It also called for improved co-ordination of
activities overseas of the various organisations seeking to procure
inward investment projects.
3. The Government's response, received in
March 1998, broadly welcomed the Report's conclusions, and emphasised
the importance of the proposed new concordat on financial assistance.
It agreed that it should, as the Committee recommended, provide
for proper co-ordination, the sharing of best practice, and transparency,
and that it should be "an acceptable way forward for all
regions of the United Kingdom".