HC Deb 09 February 1979 vol 962 cc332-3W
Mr. Moate

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what are the present requirements of the Government as regards exchange control regulations for United Kingdom residents wishing to purchase properties abroad, particularly holiday homes in Spain; if the present policy would be affected by membership of the European monetary system; and if any change of policy is contemplated.

Mr. Robert Sheldon

United Kingdom residents require exchange control permission to purchase private property outside the Scheduled Territories—currently the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland and Gibraltar. Permission is given only for the purchase of one home per family. This must be financed with investment currency, at a premium over the rate in the official foreign exchange market, unless bought for sterling from another resident of the United Kingdom who had paid the premium when purchasing the property. Exchange control rules are kept under constant review, but the Government do not at present intend to make any change in these arrangements. Membership of the proposed European monetary system would not in itself affect this policy; the United Kingdom has been authorised by the Commission of the European Communities to maintain certain restrictions, including our rules on property purchases within the Community. Spain is not, of course, yet a member State of the Community.