HC Deb 06 May 1892 vol 4 cc278-80
MR. MONTAGU (Tower Hamlets, Whitechapel)

I beg to ask the President of the Local Government Board whether he can now, or at what date, state the result of the recent Census as regards the number of persons of foreign birth resident in London and the other large towns in Great Britain in April of last year?


A Return of persons described to be of foreign birth resident in England and Wales at the time of the recent Census will be given, as on former occasions, in the detailed Census Report, which will probably be presented to Parliament early next year.


Can the right hon. Gentleman give us this special information in advance, seeing there are so many contradictary reports of the number of foreigners in this country?


It is quite impossible. The tables have to be gone over in regular rotation, and to employ a special staff to go through all the Census papers and pick out the foreign residents would not only cause enormous trouble, but would seriously delay the full Census Returns.


I beg to ask the First Lord of the Treasury if his attention has been called to the resolution of the Blackburn and District Trades Council, in which they draw attention To the misery in many large towns caused by the wholesale immigration of destitute foreigners, and call upon all Trade Unionists throughout the country to endeavour by united efforts to influence the Government to legislate in the matter, and to the adoption of such Resolution by many other Trades Councils throughout England; and, having in view the fact that such alien immigration for apparent settlement exceeded 70,000 persons in 1890–91, and that the Returns for the past quarter show a marked increase, and also that warnings have been recived by the Government that a considerable accession from Russia is probable in the near future, if steps will be taken to arm the Government with power to meet the contingency of such an abnormal influx of destitute foreigners as was contemplated by the Select Committee of 1889, and has been declared to be necessary by the majority of the Parliamentary Representatives of the people of London, having regard especially to the fact that, unless measures are now taken for that purpose, it will be impossible to do so during the current year?


In answer to my hon. and gallant Friend, I have to say that my attention has been called to the desire expressed in many parts of the country that some method should be devised for dealing with the question of the^ immigration of aliens who are likely to become a charge upon the public. From such investigation as I have been able to make into the facts, I should not be disposed to agree with all the statistics and inferences drawn by my hon. and gallant Friend in his question. At the same time, I am prepared to admit that various circumstances—among others the action, of foreign Governments—have materially affected, and, in the future, may still more seriously affect, the emigration from the Continent to this country. The matter is one which, as my hon. and gallant Friend is probably aware, is full of difficulty; but my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary is anxiously considering legislation by which adequate powers for dealing with the subject may be placed in the hands of the Government.