§ 52. Mr. Grimond
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what proportion of the gross national product is represented by private investment in the underdeveloped countries.
§ Mr. Barber
Information on United Kingdom private investment overseas is incomplete, but the amount of such investment in the under-developed countries in recent years is roughly estimated at about one half of 1 per cent. of our gross national product.
I regret that my right hon. Friend's answer of 10th November to the hon. Gentleman's supplementary question about assistance to the under-developed countries was not quite accurate and I should like to take this opportunity to correct it. In 1958–59 total United Kingdom Government economic assistance to the under-developed countries amounted to one half of 1 per cent. of our gross national product, so that Government assistance and private investment together came to roughly 1 per cent. of our gross national product.
§ Mr. Grimond
Is the Economic Secretary aware that I am greatly obliged to him and to the Chancellor of the Exchequer for that correction? Will the hon. Gentleman confirm that this means that public investment is not 1 per cent. of our gross national product and that a great deal of what we subscribe to under-developed countries comes back from certain Colonies and Territories for which we are responsible?
§ Mr. Barber
The hon. Gentleman is quite correct. The Government assistance amounts to one half of 1 per cent., but the total, which includes private investment, amounts to 1 per cent.
Will my hon. Friend bear in mind that one of the difficulties about private industry investing in under-developed countries is the extremely high rates of taxation in the under-developed countries?