asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will take steps to extend the current restrictions on the acquisition of block shareholdings in British companies by foreign States so as to enable him effectively to prevent any Arab State or group of Arab States or their nominees from obtaining a holding of more than 10 per cent. in a British company without Treasury consent.
Our present exchange control rules require special permission to be sought from the Bank of England for any foreign investor to acquire 10 per cent. or more of the voting rights in a British company. We keep their effectiveness under review; and authorised depositaries were reminded last month of their importance. We have taken steps to see that Arab States are aware of our inward investment rules.