HC Deb 19 March 1923 vol 161 cc2083-5

asked the Prime Minister whether, seeing that the increase of population is one of the main reasons which prevents a return to 1913 conditions, and that a wise and prudent scheme of emigration to the Dominions is required to relieve this condition, he will inform the House what, if any, action the Government propose to take to accelerate migration to the Dominions, in view of the fact that the efforts of the Government in this direction have not as yet even attained the rate of emigration which was attained before the War without Government assistance?


I have been asked to reply. I would remind my hon. Friend that the Empire Settlement Act only received the Royal Assent last summer, and that under that Act mutual cooperation in agreed schemes with Oversea Governments is necessary before Government assistance to intending settlers can be granted. Progress is now being effected at an increasing rate, and I am glad to be able to inform the House that Mr. Black, the Deputy-Minister of Immigration of the Dominion of Canada, has just arrived to negotiate three schemes for such co-operation suggested by the Dominion of Canada. The arrival of Sir George Fuller, Premier of New South Wales, is also most opportune, and prospects of settlement in that State will be discussed with him.


Will the hon. Gentleman consider the advisability of recommending a preliminary conference with those gentlemen who are now in this country from overseas—Prime Ministers and other representatives who are interested in emigration generally—with a view of arriving at some preliminary decision in this matter before the forthcoming and announced economic conference?

Captain A. EVANS

Will the hon. Gentleman undertake to ascertain from the local Employment Exchanges how many men who are at present unemployed will be prepared to emigrate to the Dominions under approved conditions?


I am afraid that that is a different question, and I would ask the hon. and gallant Member to put it down. In reply to the hon. and gallant Member for Wandsworth (Sir J. Norton-Griffiths), I think the most rapid progress can be made by getting on to definite and concrete schemes as quickly as we can, and leaving over general discussion till later. We have now got to the practical stage, and, while we are taking into consultation the Prime Ministers, and Dominion representatives as they come, and interviews are being held with the Oversea Settlement Committee, I do not think that such an all-round conference as the hon. and gallant Member suggests would be beneficial at the present time.


How many of the schemes which Mr. Black is bringing from Canada relate to juveniles, and how many to adults?


One has to do with juveniles.


Cannot the Government formulate some scheme for keeping British workers on British land?

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