HC Deb 20 December 1956 vol 562 cc1451-2
36. Mr. Allaun

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations how the numbers of applicants for emigration from Britain to the Commonwealth under the Empire Settlement Act, in the last three or four months, compares with the number for the similar period last year; and if he will explain the increase.

Lord John Hope

The only Commonwealth country to which emigrants are proceeding with assistance under the Empire Settlement Acts is Australia. During the four months to the end of November, 1956, the number of applicants was 8,509 compared with 6,788 in the corresponding period of 1955. Hon. Members will appreciate that an applicant very often applies on behalf of a family group. The increase over the 1955 figures has been evident generally throughout the year; the total increase for the eleven months to the end of November, 1956, was 3,920. I therefore do not attach any special significant to the increase in recent months.

Mr. Allaun

Is the Under-Secretary of State aware of the evidence showing that there has been an astounding threefold leap in the number of intending emigrants during the last three or four months compared with last year, and that this is explained largely by the widespread fears of parents for the safety of their children in this highly vulnerable country and the increased dangers of a third world war following the Government's aggression against Egypt?

Lord John Hope

I do not accept one single word of what the hon. Gentleman has said.

Mr. E. Johnson

Would my hon. Friend not agree, whatever the cause of this increase in Empire migration, that it is most desirable that British people should emigrate to such countries as Canada and Australia?

Mr. J. Johnson

Is it not a fact that this Government's financial policy, with the credit squeeze, is disheartening many small businessmen, particularly those with between £5,000 and £25,000? Is it not an amazing thing that the hon. Gentleman's own Government is now losing the support of the people in his own party?