13. Mr. Robert G. Hughes
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make a statement on Britain's recent record in attracting inward investment from the Federal Republic of Germany.
Does my hon. Friend agree that that welcome figure is further proof of the enormous attractiveness of the United Kingdom's business climate, which has been achieved as a result of Government policies? Is that a one-off figure or does it represent a growing trend of inward investment from the Federal Republic? Does he agree that that figure and the performance of this part of the economy would be ruined by the destructive policies of the Labour party?
§ Mr. Leigh
Figures compiled since 1952 show that German companies have invested some £7.6 billion in this country. Remarkably, half that investment has been made in the past three years. In 1990, we received no less than 18.6 per cent. of all German foreign investment. If the doom and gloom merchants on the Opposition Benches are so right in saying that the economy is in a mess, why are we the No. 1 location for inward investment in the world and the favoured nation for German investors?
§ Mr. Batiste
Is it not clear that German investment in Britain merely reflects a worldwide pattern and that similar trends can be seen in America and Japan? is not the Government's record of creating stable industrial relations and low taxation over the past 11 years the essential ingredient in ensuring that that pattern continues?
§ Mr. Skinner
Is there not another side to the issue? In the past three or four months West Germany has run into balance of payments difficulties because of its takeover of East Germany. Under the system of economic and monetary union of which we are now a part because of the 312 Common Market, shall we not end up using British taxpayers' money to bail out the East German mess that the West Germans have taken over?
§ Mr. Favell
Could I take up the point made by the hon. Member for Bolsover (Mr. Skinner) whom I just failed to beat in the 1979 election? I remind my hon. Friend that in the 1975 manifesto issued by the pro-marketeers, those voting yes were assured that the threat of a movement of the Common Market towards an economic and monetary union had been removed and that that threat, according to the manifesto, would have restricted industrial growth and would have affected jobs. Is not it now clear that fixed exchange rates do exactly that, and it is as true now as it was in 1975?