HC Deb 02 May 1968 vol 763 cc1262-3
7. Mr. Gwynfor Evans

asked the Secretary of State for Wales if he will state the gross number of persons who emigrated from Wales in 1965–66 and 1966–67.

Mr. George Thomas

This information is not available. It could be found only by imposing a requirement on people leaving Wales to sign a declaration of some sort. This I am not prepared to recommend.

Mr. Evans

Would the right hon. Gentleman agree, nevertheless, that the number must be very big, because there were 40,000 fewer at work in Wales in 1967 than in 1965, and this number makes nonsense of the forecast in his White Paper for the shortfall of jobs in 1970?

Mr. Thomas

Two points arise. First, the hon. Gentleman—I regret to say this on my first occasion to answer Questions as Secretary of State—is wildly wrong. The number has fallen from just over 5,000 in the 1950s to a trickle. Second, perhaps the hon. Gentleman would like to tell Welsh people that they are not free to move. Does he want the London Welsh to return home, for instance?