HC Deb 19 April 1956 vol 551 cc1160-1
23. Mr. Osborne

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, in view of the fact that 40,000 Jamaicans are expected to come to this country this year, in addition to large numbers from other parts of the Commonwealth, and in view of the urgent need to regulate and limit immigration, what action Her Majesty's Government proposes to take.

Mr. Deedes

I have nothing to add at present to the Answer which my right hon. and gallant Friend gave on 27th October last.

Mr. Osborne

Does my hon. Friend mean that the Government will never take any action no matter how many immigrants arrive? In view of the case raised by the hon. Member for Eton and Slough (Mr. Fenner Brockway), where coloured men were turned out before white men, does my hon. Friend not fear that there will be trouble here should unemployment occur again?

Mr. Deedes

The reply to the first part of the supplementary question is that my Answer did not mean that at all. A statement will be made when the Government have completed their consideration of the question. In view of the very wide and complex issues involved, I cannot say when that will be.

Mr. Younger

Is it not correct to say that the vast majority of the West Indians coming here have found employment and are making a useful contribution? Is it not also the case that, despite this immigration, for several years past—in fact, continuously since the war—there has been a net emigration from Britain of 50,000 to 100,000? In those circumstances, will the hon. Gentleman be very slow indeed about accepting his hon. Friend's recommendations?

Mr. N. Pannell

Is my hon. Friend aware that grave social problems are arising in Liverpool and other cities as a result of the influx of immigrants? While they may be able to find jobs at present, the housing accommodation is hopelessly inadequate. Is my hon. Friend also aware that the action of the British Transport Commission in recruiting staff in the West Indies will only aggravate the position?

Mr. Deedes

While I do not necessarily disagree with what was said by the right hon. Member for Grimsby (Mr. Younger), there are, of course, troubles of this sort which have to be considered. I have said that they are being considered and that a statement will be made when that consideration is completed.

Mr. G. Thomas

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that these social problems have always existed in the great ports? Is not the place in which to tackle the problem Jamaica, instead of in this country when the men arrive? Will the hon. Gentleman ask his right hon. Friends to give urgent consideration to helping in the provision of employment in Jamaica, and then the Jamaicans will not want to come here?

Mr. Osborne

In view of the unsatisfactory nature of the reply, I give notice that I shall raise the matter on the Adjournment.