HC Deb 17 July 1963 vol 681 cc516-7
33. Mr. Lawson

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what is the estimated percentage and number increase in the female population of Scotland, aged between 20 and 40 years, from 1951 to the latest available date.

Mr. Brooman-White

Between the censuses of 1951 and 1961 the female population of Scotland between 20 and 40 years fell by 69,138 or 9.2 per cent. reflecting a decline of 12.5 percent. in female births 20 years earlier.

Mr. Lawson

Will the Under-Secretary draw these figures to the attention of the Secrtary of State and ask him seriously to consider their significance? Will he bear in mind the fact that we dispute that it is owing to a decline in the birth rate but feel that it is primarily due to the constant drain from Scotland of those in precisely this age group—people moving from Scotland to the South and across the water? Does the hon. Gentleman realise that this matter is of the greatest significance to Scotland and its future?

Mr. Brooman-White

I do not believe that that is a correct assumption. The decline of 9 per cent. in the female population reflects the 12½per cent. decline in births.

Mr. Ross

This is all rather perplexing. How did the fall in the birth rate 20 years ago affect the age group of those now aged 25 or 35?

Mr. Brooman-White

Because they grow up.

Mr. T. Fraser

Will the Under-secretary treat this as a serious matter? Is he aware that he told us that the fall in the population of both males and females between 1951 and 1961 was attributable to a fall in the birth rate 20 years earlier? Is he aware that the fall in the birth rate 20 years ago could not possibly affect the population who are now more than 20 years old, particularly since the Question refers specifically to people over 20? Is it not a fact that the loss of population by migration has concerned more than a quarter of a million people, as told to us by the Registrar General? Is not that more likely to be a factor in the reduction of population in this age group during that period?

Mr. Brooman-White

It is a factor but, on the Registrar General's information, I am advised that the population decline is the important factor.