HC Deb 15 March 1971 vol 813 c909
49. Mr. Thorpe

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the total value of Rhodesian Government assets frozen in the United Kingdom.

The Minister of State, Treasury (Mr. Terence Higgins)

This information is not available.

Mr. Thorpe

May we know why it is not available? Without risking the Prime Minister's new-found popularity with Mr. Smith, is there any reason why, since this is a rebellion, these frozen assets should not be used to compensate Rhodesian civil servants living in this country who have been loyal to the Crown and who have opposed the rebellion, and other loyal subjects in this country—the Rhodesian bond holders—who have had no interest paid to them?

Mr. Higgins

The figure is not available partly because the information about the assets of Rhodesian banks, including the Reserve Bank, was given under the Southern Rhodesia Reserve Bank Order, 1965, and assurances were given in Parliament at that time that it would be treated as secret. The Government have sympathy with the position of the individuals mentioned by the right hon. Gentleman, but there are a number of others in a similar position and it would be wrong to single out one group for special treatment.

Sir F. Bennett

Will my hon. Friend confirm that these assets are held not only privately but also by the pension funds of trade unions in this country?

Mr. Higgins

I am not quite clear to which set of assets my hon. Friend is referring.

Mr. Pavitt

Are any of these assets being used to maintain the cigarette plant and factories still in being after all this time of U.D.I.? How is it that these organisations are still able to keep their factories going when they are British-owned and therefore need to have some kind of finance from this country?

Mr. Higgins

The assets concerned are frozen at the moment.