HC Deb 05 April 1967 vol 744 cc226-7
23. Earl of Dalkeith

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he will consult with the Registrar General for Scotland, and local authorities, with a view to devising a scheme to elicit information regarding the age, sex, occupation, professional skills and qualifications. years of experience, destination, reasons for migrating, etcetera, from individuals and families migrating from Scotland to other parts of the United Kingdom and overseas, by means of a voluntary questionnaire on the lines of the sample sent to him by the honourable Member for Edinburgh, North.

Mr. Ross

No, Sir. To obtain the range of information suggested by the hon. Gentleman it would first be necessary to identify the emigrants to all destinations, and this cannot be done.

Earl of Dalkeith

Is the Secretary of State aware that I deeply regret his failure even to try to tackle this problem, which I considered to be perfectly capable of being tackled?

Mr. Ross

I think that the hon. Member had better recognise that what he is asking us to do is impossible.

Mr. Noble

Instead of regarding it as impossible, will not the Secretary of State study, with universities and other organisations and people, whether it is not possible to get information on this very important subject? One cannot, of course, have a whole range of information about everyone, but until we know more about emigration, its causes, and the people going, we must find it very hard to solve the problem.

Mr. Ross

A certain amount of study has been done on this subject by the Scottish Economic Council and others, and at the present time an inter-Departmental Committee is discussing how we can improve our statistics on emigration. But if the right hon. Gentleman looks closely at the Question, I think that he will agree that what is asked is impossible.

Mr. Eadie

Is my right hon. Friend aware that yesterday there appeared on the Order Paper a Question, identical with this one, from Carmarthen?

Mr. Ross

That may well be so, but it does not help me to answer this Question.