HC Deb 28 April 1966 vol 727 cc930-2
19. Mr. Goodhart

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he now has for amending the Government's policy on Commonwealth immigration laid down in the White Paper, Command Paper No. 2739.

The Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. Maurice Foley)

My right hon. Friend is watching the situation closely but he has no major changes of policy in immediate contemplation.

Mr. Goodhart

Can the hon. Gentleman say whether or not it is intended to revise the immigration quotas in the course of the coming Session, and can he also say whether it is intended to implement the Government's pledges on special help for those areas where there has been a particularly large influx of immigrants?

Mr. Foley

The answer to the second part of the hon. Gentleman's Question is "Yes". We will be making a statement quite shortly. In reply to the first part of it, it is too soon yet to evaluate the decisions taken last August in relation to the reduction in the number of vouchers. It is a question of preserving a delicate balance, and this is constantly under review.

30. Sir D. Renton

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what was the net increase in Commonwealth immigration in the first three months of this year; and what proportion of such increase was due to immigration from Asia, Africa and the West Indies.

Mr. Foley

During the first three months of this year, the net inward balance of immigration from Commonwealth territories was 9,721; of these 5,795—or approximately 60 per cent.—were from Commonwealth territories other than Canada, Australia, New Zealand and those in the Mediterranean.

Sir D. Renton

While this appears to show a decreased rate of intake over the previous year, would the Under-Secretary agree that, to the extent that it is an increase overall, it does slightly make more difficult his problem of integration, and will he keep a careful watch on the numbers?

Mr. Foley

In terms of numbers, it is too soon to say how effective the measures which were announced last year to deal with evasion are working out. Next week I hope to publish the figures relating to the total flow in 1965. We will then have a clearer idea of the position and will be able to ascertain how we shall preserve this balance in terms of dealing with the situation at home, of promoting integration, of satisfying our manpower needs and of being fair and just all round.

Mr. Winnick

Is the Home Secretary aware that there is considerable feeling in the country that the present quota of immigrants is far too small and restrictive?

Mr. Foley

I am aware of the view expressed in certain quarters, but I am not sure that it reflects the majority view of the nation.