HC Deb 20 March 1974 vol 870 cc1023-5
23. Mr. Douglas Henderson

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will provide up-to-date figures, to the most recent convenient date, on gross emigration from Scotland.

Mr. William Ross

The available statistics do not enable accurate estimates of gross emigration to be made but they suggest that the movements of people from Scotland to other parts of the United Kingdom in the year to 30th June 1973 numbered about 61,700, with a corresponding inward movement of about 57,000. They also suggest an outward movement from Scotland to overseas countries of about 20,000 people in the same period, with an inflow of about 12,000.

Mr. Henderson

Will the right hon. Gentleman accept that it is a serious situation that such a large number of people are leaving Scotland? In future, will he give attention to publishing this figure, which is more valuable to us than the net emigration figure, and give a breakdown of ages, skills and educational attainments in future?

Mr. Ross

I shall see what is possible, but we should not consider one in isolation from the other. The fact that there is such an inward movement as well is of significance. We shall not be able to stop all these movements. We must keep a proper balance and take account of the inward movement as well.

Mr. Tom McMillan

Is my right hon. Friend aware that a new ingredient is coming into the immigration situation in Scotland, namely, that over the last three and a half years, the Tory Government created a new homeless class—the ordinary working men, working hard, who could not get a mortgage or a council house?

Mr. Ross

We must appreciate this. I said a long time ago that two factors would lead to a stabilisation of the population and retain more people in Scotland—first, a job and, second, a home. The extent to which we have contributed towards that situation is an indication of the success in the last year's figures.

Mr. Buchanan-Smith

Will the right hon. Gentleman acknowledge that we welcome having as many people coming into Scotland as possible, as well as fewer leaving, and that this is for the health of Scotland? Scotland is increasingly a good place for people to come and stay and work. Also, will the right hon. Gentleman acknowledge that last year the level of migration from Scotland was halved, and was the lowest since the war?

Mr. Ross

I think that that has already been referred to. One thing which we must take into acount and which we must welcome, although it brings problems, is that there is probably more migration within Scotland than there has been before. I know that people in Glasgow are very concerned about this, although a certain amount of it must go on.