HC Deb 09 April 1963 vol 675 c1064
1. Mr. Ridley

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what was the total United Kingdom investment abroad, in grants and loans, during 1961–62.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr. Reginald Mandling)

Grants and loans by the Government for less-developed countries totalled £161 million in 1961 and £153 million in 1962. Private investment abroad totalled £328 million in 1961 and £264 million in 1962.

Mr. Ridley

While I welcome these very large sums which we have invested in under-developed countries, may I ask whether my right hon. Friend would agree that we should first of all find out what surplus on foreign exchange account we have before making these investments? Can my right hon. Friend say what steps are taken to see what the surplus is before making investments of this sort?

Mr. Maudling

Clearly our ability to give aid must be limited by balance of payments considerations. One of the things that I have in mind is to try to direct aid so far as possible to the surplus capacity of this country and certainly to take into account our balance of payment prospects when fixing the general level.