HC Deb 23 October 1967 vol 751 cc1343-4
46. Sir C. Osborne

asked the Minister of Labour if, in view of the fact that this winter will produce two million totally unemployed, on short-time, or deprived of their usual overtime, he will now cease issuing work permits to intending Commonwealth immigrants.

Mr. Fernyhough

No, Sir.

Sir C. Osborne

If the Minister does not agree with the estimate I have given of 2 million unemployed this winter, partially or fully, what figure has he in mind —1¾million?

Mr. Fernyhough

I am not prepared to give the figure. All that I would say to the hon. Gentleman is that in the 20 years that he has been here he seems to be happy only when he is preaching gloom.

Sir D. Walker-Smith

When the hon. Gentleman says that he is not prepared to give the figure, does he mean that there is no figure, or that he has a figure which he will not communicate to the House?

Mr. Fernyhough

As anyone who has analysed the recent figures knows, the trend shows not only that we have stabilised the position but that seasonally it is better than it was three months ago. We hope that the position will improve as a result of the additional efforts which the Government are making, particularly in the development areas.

Mr. Pavitt

Does my hon. Friend concur in the opinion of the hon. Member for Louth (Sir C. Osborne) about the figure on the front of the Young Conservatives' paper?

Mr. Fernyhough

I have not seen it, but I should be glad if my hon. Friend would send me a copy.

Mr. Gresham Cooke

In view of the hard winter ahead, would it not be kinder on these immigrants to cut down the number of vouchers in the forthcoming six months to avoid any possibility of trouble?

Mr. Fernyhough

Again, I can only say that the hon. Gentleman has been here long enough to know that the question of immigration control is for the Home Office and not for the Ministry of Labour.