HC Deb 11 May 1988 vol 133 cc319-20
19. Mr. Nellist

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what is the current level of British investment in South Africa.

Mr. Alan Clark

Information on the level of United Kingdom direct investment in South Africa is derived from a triennial inquiry conducted by my Department. Based on the latest available results, the book value of United Kingdom direct investment in South Africa, including oil, banking and insurance, was £2,725 million at the end of 1984. Information on portfolio investment by country is not available.

Mr. Nellist

Is not the real figure three or four times that? Despite February's draconian banning of trade unions and other opposition forces, and despite the show trials of Moses Mayekiso, the head of the second largest trade union, and others in South Africa, is not the real reason why the Government refuse to take economic action against the apartheid regime the level of British investment there and the profits from South Africa for British firms, which make donations to the Tory party? Does that not mean more to the Minister and to the Government than the suffering of millions of black workers and their families in South Africa under the detestable regime?

Mr. Clark

I am glad to act as a foil to the hon. Gentleman for one of his favourite star turns in the House. I submit meekly to his familiar diatribe. Encouraging trade with and maintaining current investment already in South Africa will, we believe, help to protect the jobs of the majority of people in that country.


Mr. Cryer

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. It will have been within your hearing that in answer to a question the Minister for Trade referred to the so-called European Parliament. May I have your assurance that permission will not be given to Ministers to avoid accountability in this Parliament by referring to that useless talking shop in Strasbourg?

Mr. Speaker

I hear it described variously as the European Parliament or the European Assembly.