HC Deb 12 March 1964 vol 691 cc644-5
13. Miss Vickers

asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations, in view of the work done by the Women's Migration and Oversea Appointment Society for the past 100 years, what is the policy of Her Majesty's Government in regard to further assistance for this organisation.

The Under-Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations and for the Colonies (Mr. R. P. Hornby)

The pattern of emigration has changed radically during the Society's lifetime. Commonwealth countries seeking British immigrants now have their own migration offices in this country, while the Department of Technical Cooperation and the British Council are concerned with meeting the needs of the developing Commonwealth countries for trained personnel. The annual Government grant towards the administrative expenses of the Society is therefore being stopped, and the final payment is being made this year.

I would like to take this opportunity once again to express appreciation of the fine work done by the Society over the years.

Miss Vickers

While thanking my hon. Friend for the last part of his Answer, may I ask, in view of the magnificent pioneer work done by this organisation and the need for women teachers, if the Government cannot continue the grant, could my hon. Friend's Department have contact with the Secretary for Technical Co-operation in order to carry on this work in view of the very wide contacts that Department has in many countries which it is important should not be lost at present?

Mr. Hornby

I shall certainly put that point to my right hon. Friend the Secretary for Technical Co-operation. I am sure that the work done in the past and the hope that this may continue in future are points of which we are all very much aware.

Mr. G. M. Thomson

Knowing something of the good work done by this body, may I support what the hon. Member for Plymouth, Devonport (Miss Vickers) has said? Is it not important for the Government to co-ordinate the work of various societies in this field and to increase the flow, particularly to developing countries?

Mr. Hornby

That is probably a rather different question, although it is a very interesting one. The decision taken in this matter simply referred to the annual grant towards the administrative expenses of this particular society in conditions which are now rather different from those which existed when the grant was first made.

Miss Vickers

If the grant is removed from this society it will completely close down. That is what I wanted to try to avoid.