HC Deb 18 June 1959 vol 607 cc634-5
22 and 23. Mr. Goodhart

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what is the annual cost of printing, distributing, reading and studying the landing forms which must be completed by air passengers arriving in this country;

(2) what information of value to the Government has been obtained from the landing forms which must be completed by air passengers arriving in this country.

Miss Hornsby-Smith

These cards are essential to our present system of aliens control. The cost of supplying and distributing them is not borne on public funds: and it is, I am advised, not practicable to assess the cost of the uses to which they are put.

Mr. Goodhart

If a man has come here for undesirable reasons, is it not probable that he will give an inaccurate address on these cards? Is not this a rather clumsy, expensive and probably ineffective way of dealing with this problem?

Miss Hornsby-Smith

I cannot accept what my hon. Friend says. Every year many thousands of people come to this country ostensibly as visitors but endeavour to dig in and stay as permanent residents. This method of checking that they have overrun their period is effective. It is done at no expense to the taxpayer, and it is most effective. [Interruption.] If the hon. Gentleman wishes to ask a question I will answer it in a moment, but at the moment I am answering my hon. Friend. This is a most effective and most efficient method of dealing with what would be a gross breach of immigration control, and without it we should have many thousands of aliens dumping themselves in this country.

Mr. Fernyhough

The hon. Lady says that all these investigations are carried out without any expense to the taxpayer. Will she tell us, then, who foots the bill?

Miss Hornsby-Smith

The hon. Gentleman is misinterpreting what I said. I was referring to the cards, upon which my hon. Friend's Question was based. The cost of producing the cards is borne by the carrying companies concerned.