§ Mr. Lee
asked the Secretary of State for Trade what is the total value of fixed British assets situated in South Africa, at the latest valuation; what are the six most important companies or firms owning assets in those countries; whether any steps are being taken to persuade the owners to liquidate their assets; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Meacher
The most comprehensive information available relates to the total book value of British investment in South Africa which was estimated by the Reserve Bank of South Africa to have been £1,750 million at the end of 1971, the latest available date. The figure relates to British investment in tangible fixed and intangible assets, current assets, trade and other investments. Separate information is not available specifically on British investment in tangible fixed assets. United Kingdom statistics are obtained from the census of overseas assets, which covers only the book value of direct investment, excluding oil, banking and insurance. The recent census in respect of 1974 is being worked on at present, but the results will not be available for publication in aggregate form until the autumn of 1976. It is not possible to disclose the names of the largest contributors to statistical inquiries, and no published source exists from which the six companies with the largest investment in South Africa could be compiled. The Government's general policy on investment in South Africa remains as stated by the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary on 4th December 1974. We have encouraged British firms to adopt enlightened employment practices in South Africa, and are considering further measures to this end.