HC Deb 26 February 1987 vol 111 cc409-10
9. Mr. Greenway

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will estimate the value of money sent to private individuals in (a) India, (b) Pakistan, (c) Bangladesh and (d) all other countries by people settled in the United Kingdom; and if he will make a statement.

The Minister of State, Treasury (Mr. Peter Brooke)

The Government do not hold any estimates of these amounts. My hon. Friend might like to seek the advice of the London embassies of the countries concerned.

Mr. Greenway

I am grateful for that helpful reply. Does my hon. Friend agree that those countries and others benefit as a nation and as individuals by many millions of pounds of investment a year by companies in this country run by expatriate Indians, Pakistanis and the rest? Does he agree that these countries will suffer greatly if there were a Labour Government, because they would prevent companies from sending money on this basis and recall British investment already in those countries?

Mr. Brooke

My hon. Friend is quite right to warn his constituents who control such companies about the draconian vindictiveness with which they are threatened by Labour policies on overseas investment.

Mr. Pavitt

When the Minister is looking at the vast amounts of money that go to companies overseas, will he bear in mind that it is invidious to choose these three countries? That is because most people who are lawfully settled here still have family ties with those countries and often like to look after their elderly parents and their children who remain in the countries of origin.

Mr. Brooke

I do not think that any value judgment was implied in my hon. Friend's question.

Mr. Watts

Does my hon. Friend agree that it is strange that the right hon. Member for Birmingham, Sparkbrook (Mr. Hattersley) should go around making speeches about massive increases in overseas aid, which would be at the taxpayers' expense, while intending to cut back on the opportunities for individuals to invest their money in developing countries?

Mr. Brooke

The policies of the Opposition are matters for them. I share my hon. Friend's distaste for the siege mentality that they imply.

Mr. James Lamond

If it is true, as Conservative Members assert, that considerable sums are sent abroad to these countries by individuals, could the Minister draw that to the attention of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Home Office, as it demonstrates once again the validity of the claim by many of my constituents whose families are not allowed to join them in this country and who send money abroad to try to support them in Bangladesh, India and Pakistan? Will the Minister also bear in mind that that admirable trait should not be used as a further stick against those people whom Conservative Members resent living and working in this country?

Mr. Brooke

If I may say so again, the hon. Gentleman has misunderstood the purport of my hon. Friend's question.