Letter: Investing in the UK

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The Independent Culture
Sir: As the ministers responsible for inward investment, we must take issue with your report "Inward investment targets slashed" (5 November). The targets for UK inward investment have not been slashed.

The 250,000 associated jobs target for foreign direct investment was set as a minimum for inclusion in the Government's comprehensive spending review. It was a prudent baseline in the face of changing global economic circumstances. In the event, there was a record number of investment projects in 1997/98, maintaining the upward trend of the past two years. The Invest in Britain Bureau's current caseload is running 10 per cent ahead of last year.

Recent announcements back this up clearly. Over the past few weeks we have seen Ericsson of Sweden and Anglo American of South Africa both announce plans to move major international operations to London. Silicon Valley's Cisco Systems, a world leader in Internet technology, has confirmed plans to build a major R&D centre in Britain. Allstate, the American insurance giant, has announced that its first overseas information technology operation will be in Belfast. Volkswagen has confirmed heavy investment plans at the Rolls-Royce plant in Crewe where the workforce of 2,500 is expected to grow. And Her Majesty the Queen has opened Motorola's brand new production facility for cellular communications at Swindon, with its 1,300 staff.

Rather than scale down ambitions, we are still seeking more and more inward investment.

BARBARA ROCHE

Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State

Department of Trade and Industry

DEREK FATCHETT

Minister of State

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

London SW1

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