HC Deb 12 December 1961 vol 651 cc193-5
18. Mr. John Hall

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs his present estimate of the population of Greater London in 1971; the current net rate of migration of population from Greater London; and how far these figures accord with the original estimates in the Greater London Plan.

Dr. Hill

I estimate that the population of the London conurbation, as defined for census purposes, will be rather less than 8 million people in 1971. The net rate of migration from this area during the last ten years has been more than 50,000 persons annually. Separate estimates are not available for the area covered by the Greater London Plan—the Abercrombie Report.

Mr. Hall

Do these figures show that there will be much greater pressure on living space in the Home Counties than was first anticipated? If so, what action is being taken now to meet these changed circumstances?

Dr. Hill

I think that my hon. Friend is right in the assumption he makes. Broadly speaking, the step now being taken following the circular to local authorities is a scrutiny with the planning authorities of the development plans with a view to bringing more and more land into development.

Mr. Wade

Have the Government any proposals for dealing with this serious congestion in population in this part of the country? What proposals have the Government for dealing with the intensification of the housing shortage which is thereby caused?

Dr. Hill

That is outside the scope of this Question, relating to estimates of population, but it is dealt with in another Question on the Order Paper.

Mr. Jay

As the relevant area from the point of view of living and working is not just Greater London, but the whole of the south-east corner of these islands, as I think the right hon. Gentleman would agree, can he hold out any hope that there will not be a still further large increase in the population of this area between now and 1971?

Dr. Hill

He would be a bold man who would forecast with firmness what will happen. I agree with the right hon. Gentleman that this is an important issue. A detailed study is being made of the whole of the south-east, which is the appropriate area to be studied for this purpose.