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Multinational Companies

Volume 885: debated on Monday 3 February 1975

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asked the Secretary of State for Industry whether his Department is considering fresh studies of the effects of multinational companies on the freedom of action of the United Kingdom Government.

My Department keeps all aspects of multinational company operations under close review.

Is my hon. Friend aware that in the past fortnight there have been two disgraceful instances of the unilateral declaration of massive redundancies by American-owned firms in this country? Will he confirm that the Government maintain full freedom of action on these matters and on larger concerns, such as the negotiations which are now going on with Chrysler? Does he not feel that this is a matter for urgent Government study?

My hon. Friend is quite right. The Department has been very concerned about the cases to which he refers. The Government certainly do maintain full freedom of action. These are matters of great concern and the Government are looking closely at the position.

Have the Government made a study of the benefits to the British economy of the operations of many of these multinational companies? If not, why not?

A number of reports and studies have been made over many years on the whole question of inward investment. The Government have not said that there should not be inward investment; they have encouraged it. On the other hand, it is equally true that there are aspects that require the closest possible study.