Select Committee on Trade and Industry Annxes to the Report

Annex K


Co-ordination of Inward Investment, First Report of 1997-98, HC 355: Government Response, Fourth Special Report, HC 659

  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 Kingdom—Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland—for 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".

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