HC Deb 22 July 1971 vol 821 cc1663-5
19. Mr. Moyle

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the percentage increase in the number of immigrants plus dependants admitted to this country for permanent settlement in the last 12 month period for which figures are available as compared with the 12-month period immediately preceding it.

Mr. Maudling

In the 12 months ended 31st May, 1971, there was a decrease, as compared with the previous 12 months, of 1.4 per cent. in the number of Commonwealth citizens including United Kingdom passport holders from East Africa, admitted for settlement.

Mr. Moyle

In view of that reply, will the right hon. Gentleman take the opportunity of dissociating himself from the speech made by the right hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Powell) at Huddersfield on 7th July, when he sought, by the use of spurious statistics, to convince the gullible sections of the population that immigration is increasing?

Mr. Maudling

I shall confine myself to giving the statistics available to me. If I commented on the statistics produced by other hon. and right hon. Members, I should have a busy life.

Mr. Stokes

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the decrease in the numbers is infinitesimal and that most ordinary English people are looking for a substantial decrease, and soon?

Mr. Maudling

This involves United Kingdom passport holders and the rest of the Commonwealth. Admissions from the Commonwealth, excluding East Africa, have been falling substantially.

Mr. Merlyn Rees

What is the reason for the substantial decline in the section to which the right hon. Gentleman has just referred?

Mr. Maudling

There has been a reduction in the number of vouchers granted, and one expects the number of families coming in to decline.

21. Mr. Leslie Huckfield

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has for recording numbers, statistics and personal details of immigrants on computer.

Mr. Sharples

None, Sir.

Mr. Huckfield

If the Department implements the new Immigration Bill, it will need computers or some kind of increased filing system to assist. Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the Department will have the capacity for doing this on the national police computer? If he goes on recording these statistics and details on a personal computer, will the work be covered by the Official Secrets Act? Departments will have access to the information? Will he give to the House a full explanation before any further progress is made?

Mr. Sharples

As I understand it, no practical system has yet been devised for keeping these records on a computer. If such a scheme as that mentioned by the hon. Gentleman were brought into operation, the information obtained for the purposes of the Aliens Order and the Immigration Acts would not be given to any unauthorised persons.