§ 22. Mr. Millan
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what applications he has received from two British property companies for capital exports sanction to enable them to build a 20 million dollar office building in Boston, Massachusetts; and what action he is taking to protect the United Kingdom balance of payments position in this and similar transactions.
§ Mr. Selwyn Lloyd
The transfer of a small proportion of this sum was authorised in April and May last. The bulk of the money was to be raised abroad. As to the general question, I am carrying out the policy which I stated to the House on 25th July.
§ Mr. Millan
Will not the Chancellor be a little more forthcoming than that? Is he aware that the chairman of one of the property companies concerned has said that if it is not possible to raise 1127 money in the United States it will be raised here? Cannot the Chancellor give a categoric assurance that this sort of speculative transaction will not be allowed if it involves a drain on our balance of payments? What is the good of appealing to our exporters to increase their efforts if this sort of thing is allowed to continue?
Mr. H. Wilson
Has the Chancellor seen figures published recently by the United States Department of Commerce showing that the return, in terms of current earnings, on capital invested by this country in America is far less than the return on American capital invested in this country up to a comparable amount? In view of this and the clear detriment to our current capital balance of payments, will the Chancellor look at these cases very carefully indeed?
Mr. J. T. Price
Can the Chancellor say whether the overseas trading corporation legislation will apply to transactions of this kind? May I remind him that that legislation, which was enacted by his House some years ago, did not require the revenue from investments not registered in London to be returned to this country. If, in fact, profits made by this kind of investment are not returnable to this country, what contribution is this kind of transaction making to the economy of Great Britain?
§ Sir C. Osborne
Is my right hon. and learned Friend satisfied that sufficient income is brought back to this country from capital invested abroad? Is he 1128 satisfied that the recent steps he has taken are proving satisfactory?