The Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (Mr. John Hutton): UK Trade and Investment has announced today, in its launch of the UK inward investment results 2007-08, that there were 1,573 direct investments in the UK by foreign owned companies between 1 April 2007 and 31 March 2008 as reported by UK Trade and Investment and its partner agencies in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the English Regional Development Agencies. This is an increase of 9.9 per cent. on the year before, and this reconfirms the UKs position as the top investment location in Europe. Overall total associated jobs numbers were up 32 per cent. to 103,539 of which new jobs were up 23 per cent. to 45,051.
This performance reflects the confidence that companies around the world continue to show in the UK business environment. The number of new projects has increased by 9 per cent. from 600 in 2006-07 to 653 in 2007-08, and there were 436 expansions by existing investorsup by 30 per cent. from 334 the previous year.
UK Trade and Investments five year strategy Prosperity in a Changing World has refocused and restructured to concentrate on the areas where Government can make the most difference to maintain and grow the UK economy. For inward investment, UK Trade and Investment is targeting high value, innovative inward investment and entrepreneurial talent, especially research and development projects that match and enhance UK strengths. The UK has therefore positioned itself as a springboard for global growth for companies seeking to grow internationally from a UK base.
The Minister of State, Department for Culture, Media and Sport (Margaret Hodge):
I am announcing changes to the way my Department organises its work
within the English regions. Our aim is to ensure that we concentrate our expenditure on front-line services. We also want to strengthen collaboration between the public agencies for culture, media and sport, so that there is effective and efficient engagement at both regional and local level in policy and programme development and delivery.
I have reviewed the collaborative work of DCMS public bodies at regional level. The Secretary of State and I have decided that the four DCMS bodies which have a significant regional presence should work with key partners, such as local authorities and the Regional Development Agencies, to agree shared priorities and the action they need to take. These bodies are the Arts Council England, Sport England, English Heritage and the Museums Libraries and Archives Council. They will be specifically charged to work together on matters relevant to the DCMS agenda, and they will bring in other agencies and DCMS bodies where that would add value to work they are doing.
improving relationships with local authorities and developing services in partnership with local authorities;
place shaping; and
2012 and the cultural Olympiad.
The agencies will build on the joint working begun by the Regional Cultural Consortia. The consortia have achieved a great dealstrengthening the role of culture and sport in regional strategies and building networks, and the Secretary of State and I value those achievements. We have, however, decided that it is now time to switch funding from the administrative costs of Regional Cultural Consortia into grants for front-line delivery in all parts of England from the end of this financial year. We expect the consortia to be wound up as a consequence and we will assist that process, meeting reasonable costs of securing it and providing funding to our non-Departmental public bodies to set up the new arrangements.
The precise nature of the new arrangements in each region will be negotiated regionally by the directors of the four key public bodies. This will enable each region to build upon their existing strengths and determine their own priorities.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Jonathan Shaw): The 2007-08 annual report and accounts for the Veterinary Laboratories Agency will be laid before Parliament today.