HC Deb 26 January 1956 vol 548 cc338-9
3. Mr. E. Johnson

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations what total amount, and what proportion of the amount authorised, was spent under the provisions of the Empire Settlement Acts in the years 1953, 1954 and 1955, respectively.

Commander Noble

Details of the annual figures of expenditure under the Empire Settlements Acts since the war were given on 15th December, 1955, in reply to a Question by my hon. Friend the Member for Shrewsbury (Mr. Langford-Holt). The total for the three years from 1st April, 1952, to 31st March, 1955, was £550,136. The maximum figure which the Secretary of State is enabled to contribute towards agreed schemes under the Acts is £1,500,000.

Mr. Johnson

Would my hon. and gallant Friend not agree that it would be desirable to make full use of the power provided under that Act, first, because it is most desirable to keep up the proportion of British-born citizens in those countries, notably in Canada, and secondly, because emigrants from this country are not only customers for our goods but potential salesmen?

Commander Noble

I agree with the sentiments put forward by my hon. Friend, but I do not think that this is essentially a financial problem. If we spent more money, I am not sure that we should necessarily get more emigrants. If my hon. Friend has any ideas by which, by spending more money, we could help, I should be grateful if he would let me know.

Mr. P. Williams

Would my hon. and gallant Friend agree that this is a matter which should be handled by the Government of the United Kingdom, and would he urge the Prime Minister to consider the matter of emigration policy generally at the forthcoming meeting of Commonwealth Ministers?

Commander Noble

There is, of course, complete consultation the whole time in London between the Commonwealth High Commissioners concerned and ourselves on this subject.