HC Deb 27 April 1971 vol 816 c214
10. Mr. Emery

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what he estimates will be the level of invisible earnings during the financial year 1971–72; and how this compares with 1965 and 1967.

Mr. Barber

Net invisible earnings in 1970, excluding net Government expenditure on current account, were £1,108 million. After including Government receipts and payments overseas, the surplus amounted to £628 million. This compares with surpluses of £160 and £255 million in 1965 and 1967 respectively. As for the current year, I am looking forward to a continuing surplus on the invisible account of broadly the same magnitude as occurred in 1970.

Mr. Emery

Will not the Chancellor therefore further encourage investment overseas, which was thoroughly discouraged by the last Government? Have not our objections to that discouragement been proved correct by the remarkable achievement of invisible earnings in assisting our balance of payments?

Mr. Barber

I recognise the importance of overseas investment and the resulting earnings to the balance of payments. I agree that our invisible exporters have made splendid efforts over these years. This is one of the great success stories in recent years.

Mr. Maclennan

What proportion of these earnings are from tourism?

Mr. Barber

I cannot say offhand, but I should be glad to answer a Question on the subject if the hon. Gentleman will put one down.