§ 15. Mr. Biggs-Davison
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department why more Commonwealth immigrants, other than British passport holders, were admitted, and fewer refused admission, to the United Kingdom in April, 1972, than in April, 1971; and whether he will now declare a moratorium on further such immigration.
§ Mr. R. Carr
The numbers of Commonwealth citizens admitted for settlement or refused admission necessarily fluctuate from month to month. It is the general trend which is significant, and for the first five months of this year the number of admissions is actually slightly down on last year. Most of those admitted are the wives and young children 2042 of men already settled here, and I am not prepared to prevent the reunion of families.
§ Mr. Biggs-Davison
Quite apart from dependants, has my right hon. Friend observed that the figures for April, 1972, include 19 voucher holders from India and 133 other settlers? With unemployment and a housing shortage, is this justified? Will my right hon. Friend not close his mind to the suggestion in the second part of my Question?
§ Mr. Carr
We must look at the trend. Although April was slightly higher than April last year, the May figures which I am about to announce were somewhat lower, and the five months show a small decline on the previous year. As my hon. Friend will know, we reduced the number of employment vouchers last year from 8,500 to 2,700 and on 3rd May this year the number was further reduced to 2,250.
§ Mr. James Lamond
Will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind that control which is too rigid can cause considerable anguish to families already in this country? Is he aware of the case of a constituent of mine in Oldham, the details of which I have given him, in which one daughter out of a family of five was refused admission to this country? Will he see that these decisions are reached by giving the benefit of the doubt to the young children who wish to join their parents here?
§ Sir D. Renton
Is not the question asked by the hon. Member for Oldham, East (Mr. James Lamond) a strong argument for not bringing in any more heads of families than we have to bring in?
§ Mr. David Steel
May I support the question of the hon. Member for Oldham. 2043 East (Mr. James Lamond) and ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he will look at the practice of administering the rules for dependants who fall just above the automatic age limit for entitlement to entry? Does he agree that it is important that we do not produce an unnecessary break-up of families? I respect the view that we cannot allow in people who are coming basically for work and settlement rather than as dependants.
§ Mr. John Fraser
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that his last remark is extremely welcome and that the hon. Member for Chigwell (Mr. Biggs-Davison) should not get excited about one month's immigration figures any more than about one month's balance of payments figures?
§ Mr. Fraser
Can the right hon. Gentleman confirm that the relationship between the number of dependants coming into this country and the number of heads of households coming in is in the ratio of about 4:1 and that there is no direct relationship between one month's figures for heads of households and one month's figures for dependants?