HC Deb 02 June 1964 vol 695 cc904-6
31. Mr. Lipton

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs from which overseas countries he expects that migrants will come to settle in the southeast of England between now and 1981; and how many migrants he estimates will come from each country.

Mr. Corfield

For the purpose of the South-East Study our broad and necessarily tentative breakdown was that round about a quarter of the net migration into the South-East over the period 1961-81 was likely to be migration for retirement; that a further quarter was likely to be migration for work from the rest of Great Britain; and the remaining half migration for work from elsewhere. This last would come from Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, the Commonwealth and foreign countries.

These figures were based on our judgment of the total situation and did not simply project past trends. For the purposes of the Study it was unnecessary to be more precise about individual countries and regions. The main object was to estimate the total population of the South-East.

Mr. Lipton

As these figures envisage an increase of something like 550,000 people coming into London and the South-East Region from overseas, have the Government taken the trouble to discuss this problem with the London Standing Conference on Regional Planning which consists of 15 local authorities in the area, all of which are concerned about the additional strain which will be placed on housing, transport and other social services?

Mr. Corfield

That, with respect, is another question, but I can assure the hon. Gentleman that the proportion of the total migration, based on the estimates of the Government Actuary, which has been allowed for from overseas is considerably less than it has been in the past.

Mr. Woodburn

In the figures for migration from other countries has the Minister included the exodus from Scotland to the south-east of England, or does his Answer refer to foreign countries or to different parts of this country which are losing population?

Mr. Corfield

If the right hon. Gentleman will read what I said, he will find that I have attempted to regard the figure in three parts: migration for retirement; migration for work from other parts of Great Britain and migration for work from countries outside Great Britain.

Sir C. Osborne

On what grounds does my hon. Friend base his estimate that only 500,000 Commonwealth immigrants will come in to that area during the next 20 years, since my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Home Department said recently that at least 300,000 are waiting to come in from India alone at the present time? Is he aware that on that basis the number would be 1 million?

Mr. Corfield

My hon. Friend will be aware that I have to rely to a large extent on the Government Actuary. How many people are waiting to come in from India or Pakistan, or anywhere else has, with respect, no relevance to this estimate.

Sir C. Osborne

Of course it has.

Mr. Pentland

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that I have received a letter from the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Labour proving that in 1963 there was a net loss of 12,000 insured workers from the Northern Region who migrated to the Midlands and the South-East? Is he aware that many thousands of insured workers are migrating already to the South-East? Can he tell us what he intends to do about that?

Mr. Corfield

If I did not quite hear what the hon. Member said, I apologise, but I must stress that these estimates take account of our estimation that the Government's efforts to reinstate or increase employment in the North-East, the North-West and Scotland will be successful.

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