MORE than 66,000 jobs have been created in the UK by foreign businesses over the past year, government figures show.

More than 1,773 projects were set up, with the US, Japan, France and Germany leading the way.

More than half of inward investment was in energy or infrastructure schemes.

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Japanese manufacturer Hitachi is investing £82m to build a train factory in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham that will employ 730 people when it opens in 2016.

The statistics have been released ahead of the Commonwealth Games Business Summit in Glasgow where ministers will highlight opportunities to back new projects worth £15bn.

The figures listing new investments, expansions and mergers and acquisitions by foreign firms in 2013-2014 have been published by UK Trade and Investment, the government department responsible for encouraging overseas firms to invest in Britain.

UKTI says investment rose 8 per cent to a record level of £975bn and resulted in the creation of 66,390 new jobs, the highest total since 2001.

Europe provided £566bn of the total, the Americas £325bn and Asia £72bn. The rest came from Australasia and Africa.

The £975bn was the second-highest total of all the countries surveyed, behind the US (£2,890bn), and ahead of Hong Kong (£845bn), France (£630bn) and China (£560bn).

The US launched 501 projects, followed by Japan on 116, France with 110 and Germany with 102. Canada backed 89 projects ahead of China (88), India (74), Italy (70), Australia (69) and Ireland (55).

The business organisation, the CBI, welcomed the UKTI figures.

"Investment in Britain is flying high," said director general John Cridland.

"The UK is making headway in attracting investors who will be critical to the future of our economy."