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24 May 2016, 08:04 | Updated: 24 May 2016, 08:07
Scotland achieved record-breaking levels of inward investment last year, an accountancy firm has found.
The latest Ernst & Young Scotland Attractiveness Survey revealed 119 foreign direct investment projects were secured in 2015, representing an all-time high and a significant increase of 51% from the previous year.
Scotland's FDI growth rate is more than double the UK increase (20%).
On the UK regional league table, Scotland surpassed past the South East to claim second place 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.
In 2015 Scotland had a 12.7% market share of overall UK FDI employment, which is slightly below the ten-year average of 14.3%.
Software attracted the greatest number of FDI projects (19), representing a 170% increase from the previous year.
This growth rate was only bettered by two sectors, business services had a six-fold increase to 12 while utility supply achieved 10 projects which was a five-fold increase.
Edinburgh landed the third spot in the UK top ten behind London and Manchester in while Glasgow reached sixth and Aberdeen was in joint tenth with Bristol and Cambridge.
In 2015, Edinburgh experienced almost a three-fold increase in the number of FDI projects (41) while Glasgow's figure (22) more than doubled in comparison to 2014 and Aberdeen had nine, down from 12 the previous year.
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.
Responding to the report, UK Government minister Andrew Dunlop said: "These record figures show a huge amount of confidence in Scotland. 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.''
Holyrood's Economy Secretary Keith Brown said: "Scotland is a great place to do business, and 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.
"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.''