HC Deb 22 February 1990 vol 167 c1066
Q8. Dr. Godman

To ask the Prime Minister what recent discussions she has had with (a) Chancellor Kohl and (b) other European Community state leaders concerning the location of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

The Prime Minister

The Government believe that London is the natural choice for the home of the bank. I have made that clear to all my Community colleagues.

Dr. Godman

Despite the undoubted banking expertise and skills to be found in the United Kingdom, in both London and Edinburgh, it is extremely unlikely that the bank will be sited in London. Should not the Government show some magnanimity and argue the case for the bank to be sited in an eastern European capital such as Prague?

Mr. Tony Banks

Or Newham.

The Prime Minister

No, Mr. Speaker. London is the largest centre for international banking in Europe and it houses more international banks than any other major European nation. Foreign banks enjoy more than 80 per cent. of the United Kingdom's international business and 520 foreign banks are represented in London. We have the largest equity market in Europe. I could go on to give many, many qualifications and justifications as to why the bank should be sited in London. London is quite the best position for that particular bank.