HC Deb 09 June 1936 vol 313 cc25-6

asked the Minister of Labour whether his attention has been called to the great increase in the number of immigrants into Great Britain from the Irish Free State; whether he is aware that approximately 57,000 persons have emigrated from the Free State to the United Kingdom from 30th March, 1932, to 30th March, 1936; and whether he can make a statement to the House as to the effect of this immigration on employment in Great Britain?

Lieut.-Colonel MUIRHEAD

The number of immigrants into Great Britain from the Irish Free State is not recorded, but such information as is available indicates that the figure mentioned is an overestimate. That figure roughly corresponds to the net movement of passengers between Great Britain and the Irish Free State, but it would be unsafe to conclude that this represents the number of persons remaining in Great Britain. So far as the effect of this immigration on employment in this country is concerned I would remind my hon. Friend that the number of insured persons in employment increased by 1,113,000 during the period to which he refers.


Is my hon. and gallant Friend aware that, at any rate, there are very large numbers of workers coming from the Irish Free State to this country and taking jobs which would otherwise be available for English and Scottish workers, while, at the same time, English and Scottish workers in the Free State are precluded from taking employment; and does he not think that there should be some reciprocity in this matter?

Viscountess ASTOR

Is it not true that it is almost a scandal the way Irishmen are pouring into Liverpool, and yet we cannot obtain any answer as to how many are coming in and getting permanent jobs in this country?


Will the hon. and gallant Gentleman also consider the advisability of workers from Northern Ireland not being allowed into England?

Viscountess ASTOR

They are different.