In­ward in­vest­ment in Scot­land boosts work­force by 5,500

● Lat­est lift to econ­omy comes after bounce in Scot­tish GDP in first quar­ter

The Scotsman - - Business - By MARTIN FLANA­GAN

com­pa­nies con­tinue to flock to in­vest­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties in Scot­land, with 183 in­ward in­vest­ment projects in 2016-17 cre­at­ing 5,500 jobs, of­fi­cial data showed yes­ter­day.

The fig­ures come as a re­port to­day high­lighted a “sharp im­prove­ment” in the Scot­tish labour mar­ket in June, and the day after it emerged that Scot­land’s econ­omy bounced back in the first three months of this year to avoid tech­ni­cal re­ces­sion.

In­ter­na­tional Trade Sec­re­tary Liam Fox said: “These re­sults are great news for Scot­land. As world lead­ers across a range of sec­tors in­clud­ing life sciences, oil and gas and fi­nan­cial ser­vices, it’s great to see for­eign in­vestors recog­nis­ing the coun­try’s ex­cel­lence.

“As an in­ter­na­tional eco­nomic depart­ment, the Depart­ment for In­ter­na­tional Trade (DIT) will con­tinue to pro­mote the UK as a whole to po­ten­tial in­vestors and sup­ing port Scot­tish De­vel­op­ment In­ter­na­tional to at­tract in­ward in­vest­ment.”

UK govern­ment min­is­ter Ian Dun­can said: “To­day’s fig­ures show that Scot­land and the whole of the UK is con­tin­u­ing to be an at­trac­tive des­ti­na­tion for for­eign in­vest­ment who are recog­nis­ing that our skills and world-class in­dus­tries are se­cond to none.

“We want this trend to con­tinue and see even more in­vest­ment.”

The DIT said that Uk-wide there was a 2 per cent rise in the num­ber of projects to 2,265, but that the to­tal num­ber of jobs cre­ated or safe­guarded as a re­sult in 2016-17 fell 7 per cent to 108,000 from 116,000 in the pre­vi­ous year.

The fig­ures are there­fore likely to be seized on by both the EU Leave and Re­main camps as ev­i­dence of the im­pact of the Brexit vote more than a year ago on Bri­tain’s at­trac­tive­ness as a busi­ness lo­ca­tion.

Yes­ter­day’s num­bers from the DIT show that the US re­mains the big­gest in­ward in­vestor in the UK, ac­count­for­eign for 577 projects. China (in­clud­ing Hong Kong) re­mains in se­cond place with 160 projects, while In­dia, Aus­tralia and New Zealand are all in joint third place with 127 projects each.

UK sec­tors par­tic­u­larly ben­e­fit­ing from an in­crease in projects in­cluded tech­nol­ogy, re­new­able en­ergy, life sciences and the cre­ative in­dus­tries.

In a fur­ther boost north of the Bor­der, June’s IHS Markit Re­port on Jobs for Scot­land showed “steep growth in de­mand for both tem­po­rary and per­ma­nent staff ”.

Scot­tish re­cruit­ment con­sul­tan­cies recorded a 42 per cent leap in the num­ber of people placed in per­ma­nent jobs in June com­pared with May. Growth in de­mand for tem­po­rary staff was the strong­est since late 2004.

On Wed­nes­day, it emerged that the Scot­tish econ­omy ex­panded 0.8 per cent in the first three months of 2017, four times the rate of UK GDP growth. Growth in Scot­land had shrunk 0.2 per cent in Q4 of 2016 and two con­sec­u­tive quar­ters of de­cline would have marked a tech­ni­cal re­ces­sion.

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