HC Deb 17 May 1960 vol 623 cc1094-5
39. Mr. Janner

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether, in view of the policy of Her Majesty's Government to encourage foreign investment in the United Kingdom, he will now take steps to obtain more accurate information as to the total amount of foreign investment in this country at the present time.

Mr. Amory

The results of the Board of Trade's first inquiry into direct investment by British companies abroad and by foreign companies in the United Kingdom, will shortly become available. This will give accurate information on foreign investment flows. Information about the total stock of foreign investment in this country could be obtained only by an elaborate census which would not be. justified at present.

Mr. Janner

In view of the importance' of this matter and the necessity for ensuring that foreign investment is encouraged, while at the same ensuring that it does not reach an amount which would interfere with the economy of the country, can the right hon. Gentleman say whether there is any other method by which he can get a more accurate assessment of the amount of investment in the country?

Mr. Amory

I think that the hon. Gentleman will agree that the important thing—and this is an important matter which he has raised—is that we should know what the flow is either way and I think this information will enable us to assess the flow. That is the important thing. The Radcliffe Committee considered whether a census of investment would be worth while, but, in view of the amount of work involved, it said that it hesitated to make any positive recommendation.