HC Deb 01 March 1956 vol 549 cc1347-8
19. Mr. H. Hynd

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many West Indians are now resident in this country; and how many were admitted in 1955.

Major Lloyd-George

British subjects are free to enter the United Kingdom and there is no power to require them on arrival to provide the information necessary for the compilation of complete statistics; but some 17,000 persons born in the West Indies were enumerated in the 1951 Census as being usually resident in the United Kingdom and it is estimated that since then some 40,000 have come here in substantial parties with the intention of remaining, of whom some 26,000 arrived in 1955.

Mr. Hynd

In view of the large numbers involved, is the Home Secretary taking steps to ensure that these people are being properly looked after, lest they get into the hands of undesirable people in this country?

Major Lloyd-George

We look after them, as we look after any other citizen, to the best of our ability. I have no information to show that there is any particular problem as far as these people are concerned.

Mr. Allaun

Will the Home Secretary consider helping West Indians, who are making a bigger contribution to British industry than any other section of recent immigrants, by giving advice on arrival concerning jobs, industrial re-training and housing problems, rather than leaving it to charitable organisations, as at present?

Major Lloyd-George

I will certainly look into that suggestion. I am sure that the hon. Member will appreciate that housing is probably the most difficult of all the problems. There are certain areas which have even more difficulty than others, but I will certainly look into what he has said.

Mr. Gresham Cooke

Can the Home Secretary say whether the flow of West Indians to this country is increasing, or lessening?

Major Lloyd-George

The flow has been steadily increasing. About two years ago it was about 3,000, it increased to 10,000 and is now just over 20,000.