HC Deb 11 April 1951 vol 486 cc1010-1
36. Mr. Sorensen

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he is aware of the hardship and disappointment caused to colonial students by the closing of British Council hostels at Leeds and Manchester; and, in view of the need of securing adequate accommodation for these students, what action he proposes to take to see the need is met.

Mr. J. Griffiths

I am aware that the British Council's hostels at Manchester and Leeds are to be closed. I am assured by the British Council that they are able to make alternative arrangements for the small number of colonial students who will thus be displaced.

Mr. Sorensen

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the closing of these two hostels has caused a considerable amount of disquiet among colonial students in this country? The latest information until recently was that the hostel for girls was about to be closed; that has now been revoked. Could there not be some stability in this matter? Has my right hon. Friend been in contact with the British Council about it?

Mr. Griffiths

Yes. In these hostels only about 14 out of a total of 33 students have been displaced. I am told by the British Council that they are satisfied that alternative arrangements can be made for these colonial students.

Mr. J. Hynd

Can my right hon. Friend say why these hostels have been closed? Is it in the interests of economy? If so, is it expected that more hostels, which are so important to these colonial students, will be closed?

Mr. Griffiths

When I am not satisfied that the British Council can make alternative accommodation available, I will take action, but I am assured that they can provide alternative accommodation.

Mr. Sorensen

Has my right hon. Friend been in recent contact with the British Council on this matter? If not would he get in touch with them?

Mr. Griffiths

I have been in contact with the Council since my hon. Friend put down his Question. If he has any further information, I shall be glad to receive it. I am very anxious to see that the arrangements made for these colonial students are the best possible.

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