24/05/2016 - Scotland achieved record-breaking levels of inward investment last year, a survey has found.
The latest EY (formerly Ernst & Young) Scotland Attractiveness Survey revealed 119 foreign direct investment (FDI) projects were secured in 2015.
The figure represented a 51% increase on the previous year, compared with 20% for the UK as a whole.
On the UK regional league table Scotland surpassed south east England to come second behind London.
Mark Harvey, EY senior partner, Scotland, said: "Scotland had a truly spectacular year for FDI in 2015, making some significant strides in key areas, resulting in a major step change in performance.
"Importantly, the majority of FDI projects for Scotland in 2015 were new rather than expansions.
"This ability to attract a higher proportion of new, first-time investors signals a positive future for Scotland.
"The challenge now is to not only maintain performance, but also take it to the next level and excel against the competition."
Scotland's 2015 record was also reflected by a considerable increase (52%) in the number of jobs created by FDI.
A total of 5,385 were secured in 2015, the second highest figure for the decade behind 2011 when 5,926 jobs were recorded.
The survey found:
- Software attracted the greatest number of FDI projects (19)
- Business services had a six-fold increase to 12
- Utility supply achieved 10 projects, a five-fold increase.
- Edinburgh landed the third spot in the UK top ten behind London and Manchester
- Glasgow reached sixth and Aberdeen was joint 10th with Bristol and Cambridge.
Mr Harvey added: "Edinburgh and Glasgow have consistently been at the forefront of attracting inward investment to Scotland and have outdone themselves this time with a combined increase in projects of 40 in one year."
The US continues to be Scotland's primary investor but neither China nor India are in the top ten investors in Scotland, despite being the third and fifth biggest sources of investment respectively for the UK as a whole.
Holyrood's newly appointed economy secretary, Keith Brown, said the report showed that Scotland was "a great place to do business".
"In an increasingly competitive global market, it is encouraging that year after year, international firms are seeing Scotland as an attractive place to come and invest," he said.
"Over the next year we will be opening two new investment hubs, in London and in Brussels, to add to our hub in Dublin, and will be working hard to continue to promote the skills, talents and location that make Scotland such a successful place to do business."
UK government minister Andrew Dunlop said the figures demonstrated "a huge amount of confidence in Scotland".
He added: "The country has put the uncertainty of the independence referendum behind it, and it is great news that major international companies are responding to that stability by investing in Scotland.
"This demonstrates clearly the benefit for Scotland's economy and Scottish jobs of being part of the
UK, one of the world's fastest-growing major advanced economies.
"But we cannot be complacent and it is vital that we continue, working with the Scottish government, to deliver economic growth for Scotland."
Source: BBC News