HC Deb 19 October 1972 vol 843 cc442-3
26. Mr. Rose

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many citizens from Uganda have now been accommodated in private homes and how many individuals have offered such accommodation.

The Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. David Lane)

The great majority of the refugees not in resettlement centres have made private arrangements to stay with friends or relatives. The Uganda Resettlement Board had by last weekend received offers of accommodation in 1,476 private households, many of them for short periods only.

Mr. Rose

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that in addition to the valiant efforts he has made there is a great deal of good will on the part of the British people, voluntary organisations and individuals, that can be tapped? Could he not make greater efforts to make people aware of the way in which they can fit into the plans for accommodating the refugees? Is he aware that there is a somewhat uneasy feeling that many of the refugees may have to stay in camps for an unacceptable period?

Mr. Lane

Yes, Sir, there is the good will to which the hon. Gentleman refers. May I take this opportunity of thanking the very many individuals who have already made offers of private accommodation? I expect to see a steady increase in the number of these offers being taken up from now on. As my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State made clear yesterday, our first objective, and the board's first objective, is to get the refugees out of the resettlement centres into permanent homes and jobs as soon as possible.

Mr. William Clark

There is great sympathy and concern for the Ugandan Asians, but there is also general unease in the country about the position of other Commonwealth citizens who hold similar passports. What action are the Government taking to ensure that the Uganda episode is not considered a precedent for some similar action?

Mr. Lane

We are aware of that concern. All I can say now is that there is no prospect whatever of this episode being repeated elsewhere.