HC Deb 12 February 1908 vol 184 cc28-9

I beg to ask the Prime Minister if he is aware that, according to the Fiftieth Report of the Commissioners of Inland Revenue, there was an increase in 1905–6 over the preceding year of no less than £7,837,156 in the profits derived from investments abroad; and whether he will consider the desirability of so defending the productive industries of the United Kingdom as to check the expulsion of British capital abroad, in the interests of labour and employment in this country.


My right hon. friend has asked me to reply to this Question. I have studied the figures referred to, which are very remarkable, with great interest. A large part of the increase probably represents greater productivity of existing investments, and it may also to some extent be due to a closer collection of income-tax on foreign investments generally. In so far as it represents income on British capital newly invested abroad, I by no means follow the hon. Member in regarding such capital as having been "expelled" from the United Kingdom to the detriment of labour and employment here, seeing that it in fact represents the proceeds of the sale of British products in foreign and Colonial markets: but the general question is too wide to argue exhaustively in a Parliamentary Answer.


According to this Report of the Inland Revenue Commissioners, are not the figures given as receipts from investments abroad?


Investments abroad take very largely the form of products of British industry exported abroad.