HC Deb 15 June 1961 vol 642 cc607-8
1. Mr. Holt

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he is now in a position to state the amount of private investment by Common Market countries in the United Kingdom in the last half of 1960; and what was the amount of United Kingdom private investment in the Common Market countries in the same period.

The Economic Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. Anthony Barber)

I regret that this information will not be available until the end of July.

Mr. Holt

Can the Economic Secretary say why there is so much delay, because when I asked for these figures last year they were provided a good deal more quickly than now? This is a matter of some considerable urgency, because there is every indication that a large amount of capital investment from this country is going into Europe because we have not yet decided to go into the Common Market.

Mr. Barber

This is, as the hon. Gentleman points out, an important matter, but the information about private investment is given in the balance of payments White Papers and is largely based on the result of the Board of Trade's inquiry into overseas direct investment. The final results of this inquiry for 1959 have only recently been published, and tabulation of the 1960 returns cannot begin before the end of June, because sufficient returns will not be available until then. Publication is planned for August. There must, inevitably, be some delay while firms make up their accounts for the preceding year.