Inward investment in Wales 'highest for nearly 25 years'

First Minister Carwyn Jones described the figures as "excellent"

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First Minister Carwyn Jones has welcomed figures suggesting investment in Wales from abroad is at its highest for nearly 25 years.

Statistics from UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) show 79 foreign companies invested in Wales in 2013-14.

Carwyn Jones said it showed that Welsh government ministers travelling abroad and "selling Wales" had worked.

Welsh Conservatives leader Andrew RT Davies welcomed the figures but said Wales was still "under-performing".

The Welsh government said the 79 "direct inward investment projects" was a record result for the last 24 years, creating or safe-guarding 10,441 jobs.

Mr Jones said Wales had attracted 7.9% of the total UK inward investment, adding: "Remember, our population's only 4.8% so [I'm] very happy and it shows that the work we've put into selling Wales abroad...that's all worked".

He dismissed claims from opponents that the figures come from a low base, saying: "They would say that, wouldn't they?"

"We keep on being criticised by the opposition parties for going to countries to get investment, but this is what happens when you go there and you fight for Wales."

The first minister said the days when companies invested "because Wales was a cheap place" had gone.

"We now attract investment into Wales on the basis of the fact we've got the skills, not because wage rates are lower," he said.

'Right road'

However, Andrew Davies said the investment figures were lower compared to when the Welsh Development Agency - which was abolished in 2006 - existed.

"We're still under-performing.

"We only get about 4.5%-5% of all inward investment into Wales, as opposed to the pre-Welsh Development Agency days when we were on 15%.

"There's a long way to go. We can't be complacent, but we seem to be on the right road."

Mr Davies said the figures were a result of work by the coalition UK government to attract investment, adding: "I fail to see how much credit you can give to the Welsh government.

"It's almost like an arsonist who's burnt the house down and now is re-building it."

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