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RECORD YEAR FOR ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, SAYS ASSEMBLY GOVERNMENT REPORT

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Last year was a record year for economic development in Wales with a record number of grant offers made to business...
Last year was a record year for economic development in Wales with a record number of grant offers made to businesses, more jobs created and safeguarded, and increased funds for economic activities.

A full report of the assembly government's economic development department's main achievements in 2001- 2002 will be presented to the assembly's economic development committee on Wednesday.

The report reveals£444.4m of public investment in the Welsh economy last year. This included an extra£33.4m boost to the budget made during the year.

Grants totalling£143.3m were offered to 270 businesses in Wales through the assembly government's Regional Selective Assistance scheme, which will lead to 13,173 jobs being created and safeguarded throughout Wales. These grants will also help to bring in an associated investment of£642m into the Welsh economy in the future.

On the jobs front, the assembly government's two main economic development agencies - Welsh Development Agency (WDA) and the Wales Tourist Board (WTB) - both exceeded their forecasts last year. The WDA supported the creation of over 26,000 jobs and the WTB created and safeguarded 1,063 jobs. Their achievements will be published in their annual reports for 2001-2.

Welsh firms secured£62m of new export trade deals last year thanks to support from WalesTrade International, the assembly government's export trade arm. This was£23m higher than the target for the year. WalesTrade International also created£483m worth of new trade opportunities for Welsh exporters.

To support the rural economy in the wake of the foot-and-mouth crisis, the tourism industry in Wales received a 45% budget boost last year.

Economic development minister Andrew Davies, said: 'This record level of investment in economic activity will set the foundations for building a 'winning' Welsh economy over the next 10-years. Our programmes are specifically designed to help existing Welsh companies to grow and become more competitive and encourage the development of new knowledge-based ventures and industries.

'The record value of grants offered by the Welsh assembly last year to companies in Wales are expected to generate a significant number of new jobs in the future.'

Major Investment projects announced in Wales last year include:

Project

Location

Jobs

ASA Creditsafe

Caerphilly

60 n

Borg Warner Automotive Ltd

Maesteg

199 s/g

BT Ignite

Cardiff Bay

200 n

Calsonic

Llanelli

800 s/g

Conduit/ 118 European call centre

Cardiff

250 n

Continental Teves Ltd

Ebbw Vale

116 n

CW Cosmetics Ltd

Maesteg

425 s/g, 150 n

Desklink Ltd

Tredegar

75 n

Elev 8

Ammanford

200 n

Euro DPC

Llanberis

30 n

Faurecia Automotive Seating Ltd

Deeside

240 n

General Dynamics (UK) Ltd*

Oakdale

400 n

Griffin Windows Ltd

Treorchy

131 n

International Rectifier

Newport

260 n

Legal and General Financial Services

Cardiff

400 n

Mollertech UK Ltd

Cwmfelinfach

110 n

Pachem Gmbh

Rhyl

50 n

The Book People

Bangor

200 n

The Pension Service*

Swansea

500 n

n - new jobs

s/g - safeguarded jobs

*these projects did not receive funding from the assembly government.

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