HC Deb 22 November 1960 vol 630 cc967-8
32 and 33. Mr. Gower

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) if he will state approximately the total British capital invested in industry overseas;

(2) if he will state approximately the total capital of the United States of America and other overseas countries, respectively, invested in British industry.

28 and 29. Mr. Cooper

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what is the estimated total of British capital invested in American industry;

(2) what is the estimated total of American capital invested in the United Kingdom.

Mr. Selwyn Lloyd

I regret that figures of the total amount of United Kingdom capital invested in industry in the United States and other countries are not available. According to United States Government estimates, the book value of direct private investment by United States companies in the United Kingdom amounted to £884 million at the end of 1959. Information about the direct investment of other overseas countries in the United Kingdom is not available.

Mr. Gower

Would not some of these figures be a great help in making an objective judgment on the value of inter-trading across frontiers?

Mr. Lloyd

I agree that it would be interesting to have these figures, though the Radcliffe Report indicated that it would be a task of tremendous complexity. I am always being encouraged to reduce the number of civil servants, and I am not sure whether it would be possible to get more figures.

Mr. H. Wilson

When the Chancellor expresses his belief in the uncontrolled freedom of investment across national frontiers, he is referring to American investment in this country. Would he give a similar welcome if President Nasser tried to buy shares in the Manchester Ship Canal Company?

Mr. Lloyd

I think that a very hypothetical question.

Mr. Ridsdale

In reply to Question No. 32, is my right hon. and learned Friend able to say what proportion of British capital invested overseas is long-term and what proportion is short-term, and what proportion of this is reflected in our balance of payments and invisible exports?

Mr. Lloyd

Not without notice and, even with notice, I doubt it.