HC Deb 05 February 1959 vol 599 cc558-9
21. Mr. Cronin

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if, as it is possible for foreign companies to take over a controlling interest or obtain undue influence in British companies by ordinary Stock Exchange transactions, he will take steps to modify the results of such activities on occasions when they are not in Great Britain's economic interests.

Mr. Erroll

No, Sir. I would refer the hon. Member to my reply on 29th January to the right hon. Member for Battersea, North (Mr. Jay).

Mr. Cronin

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the Government may be under some electoral temptation on these matters in the future? Does he appreciate that the improvement in the last monthly figures of the gold and dollar reserve was largely due to dollars crossing the Atlantic for the British Aluminium take-over?

Mr. Erroll

The improvement was due to a number of factors, not least of which was the decision to merge the sterling rates.

Mr. H. Wilson

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the biggest single improvement in any month in the gold and dollar figures since the last election was the sale by the present Prime Minister of the Trinidad Oil Company, and in view of that precedent, which has obviously not been repudiated by the Government, will he make it quite plain that the Treasury will act to prevent dollars crossing the Atlantic for the purpose of purchasing major British companies in this country?

Mr. Erroll

Most certainly not.