HL Deb 14 March 1968 vol 290 cc357-9

My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.

[The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many immigrants from India have entered this country in each of the last three years; and what is the total number of immigrants from India to this country since independence.]


My Lords, the number of immigrants admitted for settlement from India in the last three years were 17,131, 16,708 and 19,067 respectively. The total since July, 1962, when the Commonwealth Immigrants Act came into force is 84,278. It is not possible to give reliable figures for earlier years.


My Lords, I thank the noble Lord for his Answer, and also for his courtesy in bearing in mind my disability. Is he able to give an estimate of the total number for earlier years? Secondly, basing it on those three years, and the other figure the noble Lord gave, would he not agree that, in view of the unparalleled generosity of this country, both in this respect and in all contributions to family relief and all the rest of it, the recent storm of abuse of, and threats to, this country by Indian officials, Press and Parliamentarians "takes the cake" for ingratitude? Lastly, would not the noble Lord recommend to the Minister that further immigration from India cease forthwith, and that any places thereby made available be allocated to Kenyan Asians?


My Lords, from 1955 until 1962 estimates were made of the net balance of immigration—that is, the difference between all who came in, for any purpose, and all who went out; and it is estimated that in the 12 years, 1955 to 1967, there was a net balance of 171,800 who came here for permanent settlement. From a different source—that is, the General Register Office—it is estimated that since Independence in 1947 those who have come here from India for permanent settlement number 175,000.

With regard to the noble Lord's reference to our "unparalleled generosity", I would not describe it as such, but it may perhaps be making up for many, many years before that when we were not so liberal. With reference to statements made, or alleged to have been made, by statesmen from India, I would remind your Lordships that the arrangements with regard to immigration were the result of consultation with Commonwealth Governments, and we are carrying out our part of not doing anything without consultation or talking to the other Governments.


My Lords, may I ask my noble friend whether the figures he has given of the number of immigrants for the last three years include dependent young people?


Yes, my Lords. In fact, overwhelmingly the greater number in every one of those three years has been of dependants, whether adult or children.