HC Deb 23 March 1949 vol 463 cc344-5
6. Professor Savory

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he is aware that the number of unemployed in the town of Flensburg is more than 10,000, in Flensburg-Land nearly 6,000, in Husum-Land and Südtondern-Land over 5,000, and that the northern districts of South-Schleswig have the greatest unemployment in the whole of Western Germany; and whether he will take steps to relieve this country of its burden of refugees, as they cannot possibly be absorbed in an agricultural country like Schleswig, whereas certain parts of Western Germany are clamouring for workers in industry and mining.

Mr. Mayhew

My right hon. Friend is aware that the Land Schleswig-Holstein is carrying a disproportionate share of the refugee burden, and that unemployment is resulting. There is, however, nothing which can be usefully added at present to the speech made by my right hon. Friend, the Minister of State, in the Adjournment Debate of 4th March. The report of the Tripartite Working Party on Refugees will be considered at the next meeting of the Military Governors on 30th March.

Professor Savory

Could not the hon. Gentleman give us an explanation why this enormous surplus of unemployed should not be sent to the Southern parts of the Western zone where the employers are clamouring for workers both in industry and in mining?

Mr. Mayhew

We think there is a case for distributing the burden of refugees more evenly over the Western zones, and it is for this reason that we have set up this working party whose report will be considered on 30th March.

Mr. Yates

Is the Minister aware that in the district mentioned in this Question, the refugees outnumber the population? In view of the urgency of a matter of this kind, because of the intolerable burdens which are imposed upon the local population, will my hon. Friend make some urgent representations in regard to the matter?

Mr. Mayhew

I agree that the burden of refugees is a heavy one but I cannot accept that there are more refugees than local inhabitants. That is not my information. I have nothing to add to the fact that the report of the working party will be considered next week by the Military Governors.