Below is the text of Mr Major’s written Parliamentary Answer on Overseas Assets on 7th July 1987.
Mr. Cohen Asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will publish a table showing for each year since 1979 the total of United Kingdom-owned assets overseas, broken down by country and into figures for the public and private sectors.
Mr. Major Estimates of United Kingdom owned assets overseas are published in the annual Pink Book, “United Kingdom Balance of Payments”, copies of which are in the Library. The 1986 edition showed summary information in table 1.2 each year between 1966 and 1985, distinguishing public sector and private sector assets; further details are shown in section 9. Figures for end-1986 will be published in August and are expected to show total overseas assets net of liabilities of around £110 billion.
An analysis of total overseas assets by country is not available. However, details of the book value of direct investment assets analysed by country were published in an article in the 22 May 1987 issue of “British Business”. These figures are collected only every three years, the latest relating to end-1984. Also, information on United Kingdom banks’ overseas claims, by country, is published quarterly in table 14 of the Bank of England Quarterly Bulletin. Copies of these publications are in the Library.