HC Deb 12 July 1955 vol 543 cc1730-1
31. Mr. Osborne

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer the estimated amount of security sterling available for the purchase of shares in British companies; and to what groups of nationals in the main it belongs.

Mr. R. A. Butler

Security sterling—or switch sterling—is not an official description but is a market term used to describe sterling of a capital nature held by nonresidents of the sterling area. It is more formally described as blocked sterling. In general it is derived from the proceeds of the sale of sterling securities, usually for reinvestment which is permissible in any quoted sterling security redeemable in not less than ten years. The amount of it thus varies from day to day and no figures for the total or for its distribution between nationals are available.

Mr. Osborne

Can my right hon. Friend give an estimate of how much of this pool has already been invested in British industrial equities?

Mr. Butler

I was looking into that matter when I was examining the hon. Member's Question, but it is difficult to give him an accurate sum.