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Wales was the only UK nation to see the number of inward investment projects increase over the last year, with nearly 7,000 foreign investment jobs safeguarded thanks to direct COVID-19 economic support from the Welsh Government, new figures published today show.

First published:
22 June 2021
Last updated:

The statistics, published by the UK Government’s Department for International Trade, show Wales attracted 72 foreign direct investment (FDI) projects (up 16.1% compared to 2019 to 2020).

6,907 foreign investment jobs were safeguarded in Wales (a 1,418.0% increase compared to 2019 to 2020), thanks to Welsh Government support for businesses during COVID-19 pandemic, this represents 41.4% of all jobs safeguarded across the UK. Over half of all Welsh projects were supported through the Economic Resilience Fund. Around £2.5 billion has been made available to businesses of all sizes across Wales, including £500 million through the Economic Resilience Fund to support their operations. Meanwhile, 1,529 new foreign investment jobs were created during 2020 to 2021.

The Welsh Government was involved and supported businesses in around 95% of foreign investments, compared to 75% at the UK level, with interventions including financial support, advising companies on potential sites and premises, identifying skills and talent, assistance with market research and making introductions to banks, business networks and academia.

Over the last twelve months, Wales has attracted some notable investments, including Wrexham-based Wockhardt, a key part of the UK’s vaccine roll-out strategy, announcing the creation of 40 new jobs.

Welcoming the figures, Economy Minister, Vaughan Gething said:

“The statistics published today shows Wales was the only nation in the UK to attract more inward investment projects in 2020 to 2021 compared to 2019 to 2020, with the number of projects falling UK-wide. This is particularly impressive in the context of the challenges posed by our departure from the EU and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our economy.

“The last year has been an unprecedented year. Businesses across Wales, the UK and globally have faced huge challenges in dealing with the effects of COVID-19. That’s why the Welsh Government has made £2.5 billion available support businesses across Wales during the Covid pandemic, which was above and beyond that provided by the UK Government. This has helped ensure we’ve retained many vital inward investment projects that may have otherwise left, which has helped safeguard nearly 7,000 foreign investment jobs.

“More broadly, our package of business support has helped safeguard in excess of 160,000 jobs here in Wales since the start of the pandemic which clearly demonstrates the Welsh Government’s proactive approach to aftercare and the supportive business environment that exists here. I’m confident the support we’ve provided during the pandemic will encourage re-investment and help secure the long-term future of overseas investors in Wales.

Of the 72 projects brought to Wales, 27 came from within the EU (37.5%) and 45 were from non-EU sources (62.5%). The largest EU contributor was Germany (6 investments) and the largest non-EU contributor was the USA (19 investments).

In comparison, the results show the UK secured a total of 1,538 investments from overseas companies in the last financial year, a 17.0% decrease on the previous year. The only other UK region to experience an increase in projects is the south west of England.

Wales attracted 4.7% of all UK projects – an increase from 3.6% in 2019 to 2020.