HL Deb 16 December 1969 vol 306 cc986-1091

4.12 p.m.

Debate resumed.


My Lords, I should like to join with the noble Lord, Lord Brooke of Cumnor, in thanking the noble Lord, Lord Walston, for opening this debate and providing an opportunity for the House to consider this important Report. At the same time, I should like to congratulate the noble Lord, Lord Walston, on opening the debate in such an interesting and helpful manner. This is a massive survey: it contains a wealth of valuable information and many proposals of a practical nature. But in commenting on this Report and the proposals, one finds it a little difficult to know where to start and where to end. I have marked one or two passages, and I should like to refer to some of them.

In the second chapter of the Introduction, headed "The Liberal Hour and After", it is pointed out that liberal idealism by itself will not suffice, and that positive policies are called for. That is my summary of that chapter, and I am bound to agree with it. On the other hand, on page 737 in the Conclusions, it is pointed out, as I think the noble Lord, Lord Walston, mentioned, that there is more tolerance in Britain than perhaps some people appreciate. That is so. Again, there is a passage on page 675 where our attention is drawn to the fact that there is more tolerance among those who live near to the immigrant populations than in areas of the country where there are no immigrant settlers. That, I think, is true, and is what I have found to be correct from my own experience.

I think that many of your Lordships who will take part in this debate, and probably all, will speak in one way or another from your own experience, and I should like to speak from my experience as Chairman of the Yorkshire Committee for Community Relations. There is some confusion about all these different bodies, and I must make it clear that the Committee for Community Relations is quite distinct from the Race Relations Board—we are not concerned with operating the Act. The Yorkshire Committee is a voluntary body, which receives a grant from the West Riding County Council and is generously supported by the Yorkshire Council of Social Service. It is concerned with community relations in all its aspects. Its membership includes the local community relations officers, representatives of the local community relations committees, members of churches and other bodies and also representatives from industry and the trade unions. I think it is useful that both sides of industry should be on a committee such as this, discussing problems which are not specifically industrial problems. I do not think it would be an exaggeration to say that I find this Committee one of the most active and responsible Committees that I have the privilege to chair. Nevertheless, I do not claim to speak in this debate for any one except myself.

The first point I should like to make is this. I think we have to recognise that any control of migration (I say "migration", and I mean both the compelling of people to leave a country against their will and the preventing of people from entering the country which they want to enter) creates hardship and various degrees of inhumanity. Furthermore, control leads to evasion. This leads to tighter control, and that in turn to more hardship. Those, my Lords, are the facts of life.

When the Home Secretary said, as I think he did a short time ago, that all the loopholes have now been stopped, that may be correct, and I think probably is. But it does not mean an end of the inhumanity of control. Scarcely a week passes without some case coming to my attention of somebody who has had a harassing experience as a result of immigration control. I want to be as constructive as possible, and I would say that I welcome the new immigration appeal system which is to come into effect in April, and I hope and believe that the voluntary bodies will be able to cooperate in making it a success. But it is not just a matter of appeals. There is a great need for help and advice in all kinds of ways, which to some extent is lacking at the present time. Since the new entry certificate procedure came into effect, I fear it has been a case of out of sight, out of mind.

The next comment I should like to make is, I think, in line with the observations of the noble Lord, Lord Brooke of Cumnor. If public opinion is to be enlightened, the dissemination of accurate information is essential. There is a great need, even among the most intelligent liberal-minded for the facts to be explained with particular reference to local circumstances. In my committee, this is something that we have in mind. We organise conferences; we arrange visits to training colleges; we have talked with the police—and in that respect I owe a great debt of gratitude to the Secretary of my Committee, Mr. Raymond Clarke—we have discussions with teachers and so on. It might be said that we are supplementing at regional level the work of the Commonwealth Relations Commission.

But apart from this need for facts, I find a very real need for a better understanding of the differences in culture and social customs. Let me give your Lordships two examples of what we are trying to do in the County of Yorkshire, the first with regard to women. The women, and particularly Asian women, tend to be very much left to themselves and live rather secluded lives. Therefore, we have got in touch with the women's organisations in the county and asked for their help. Recently, my wife and one or two others acted as hostesses to a number of members of women's organisations and to West Indian, Pakistani and Indian ladies, at a social gathering, and this seems to have been very successful. Following that, other meetings and social gatherings are taking place in various towns throughout the West Riding. I think this is a useful break-through. It will take time, but it may well lead to the kind of group meetings to which the noble Lord, Lord Brooke of Cumnor, referred.

Another project we have undertaken is through the medium of a religious panel which we have set up in Yorkshire. This panel has sponsored a book about the Asian faiths, explaining them as simply and clearly as possible, with particular reference to the customs and festivals of the Asian people, which are sometimes very puzzling to the host community. With the aid of the Commonwealth Relations Commission this book will be published some time in the New Year. I hope that it will be a help to teachers, social workers and industrialists, and maybe also to a wider public.

I have given your Lordships only two examples of all this work because I do not want to take up too much time, but this work is carried out on the assumption that the immigrants will stay; and I think that this assumption is one that must be made. There is talk of voluntary repatriation, but from my experience I would say that, even with the aid of subsidies, voluntary repatriation is not going to make any material difference to numbers. Compulsory repatriation would be a very different matter, and I would never be a party to that kind of proposal. If they stay, I think we shall find that the main problems will come under the heading of education, housing, language and jobs—particularly finding jobs for the school-leaver. I feel sure that those who are taking part in this debate will contribute to one or other of those important subjects and, therefore, I shall cut out what I might have said on any one of them, except to make a passing reference to the subject of housing. It is sometimes said that the arrival of immigrants depresses the value of property in the area. There may be some areas where that is so, but it is not broadly true. In some cases it leads to an increase in property values, particularly where there is rental purchase. I am not at all enthusiastic about rental purchase. It is practised where a building society mortgage or a local authority house cannot be obtained. I know of occasions where the purchaser has paid three times the market value under rental purchase.

Of course, there is this concentration at the present stage, but that is the first stage, the wave of immigrants. Moving out and dispersal will follow, if permitted. The only limiting factor is the proximity of work, and the cultural and religious links which tend to keep people together in one community. I believe that all these problems can be overcome if they are tackled seriously and patiently, and if there is the right leadership from the host community. For that reason, what is said in public is very important. Frankly, I was a little surprised at the remark of the noble Lord, Lord Brooke of Cumnor, about keeping this country predominantly Anglo-Saxon, and I was very glad to hear his explanation this afternoon. As I understand it, he is replacing the words, "Anglo-Saxon" with "European", but I shall refer to that in a moment.

I should like to turn for a short while to the experience of the inflow of people of different nationalities in modern times. I do so to illustrate the problem of community relations and what I would call the pattern of change. For example, over the past one hundred years or more a large number of Irish people have been coming to this country. Many have settled in the West Riding and Lancashire. They have come to work in our mills and factories, and have helped to build our roads and reservoirs. Some of the daughters have entered, or have tried to enter, domestic service. At first, there was a considerable amount of prejudice. I am just old enough to remember when domestic service was not quite so abnormal as it is to-day, and I can remember the words that were frequently inserted in advertisements, "No Irish Catholics need apply." Later that was shortened to, "No R.C.s." Everyone knew what that meant. Now, everything has changed. I knew very well the matron of a large hospital in Huddersfield (she has now retired) who used to go over to Ireland to recruit staff, to get nurses, and I am sure that they became very valued members of the staff. Some of them married and settled in this country. So there has been this change over a period of time.

We are living to-day in a mixed community. My mother-in-law was Welsh: she came from a part of North Wales where very few people spoke any English. Although I come from a long line of Yorkshiremen, I suppose it may be said that I let the side down by marrying somebody who is part Welsh. Again, there are many Scotsmen in Yorkshire—particularly in the medical profession. The point I am coming to is that in talking about the European stock or Anglo-Saxon stock one must consider other communities, for example, the Jewish community. I hope that it is not out of place to make this reference. Again, it is an illustration.

At the beginning of this century, a considerable number of Jews came from central Europe and from farther afield. Many of them settled in Leeds and Bradford. Others settled in the East End of London. At that time, precisely the same fears were felt, and precisely the same criticisms were used, as I hear expressed to-day about immigrants from India and the West Indies. There is a remarkable similarity in the language that is used. With the passage of time, these Jewish immigrants have become valuable members of the local community. In Leeds there are a great many Jews, and there are some very distinguished citizens of the Jewish faith. I hope the noble Lord, Lord Brooke of Cumnor, will forgive me for referring to the matter, because he has given his explanation with regard to it; but when the headline on the front page of the Yorkshire Post on November 26 read: Keep Britain Anglo-Saxon—Lord Brooke"— and after all this is published in Leeds —I fear there were some who felt that it was something of a slight on the Jewish community, although I am sure that that was not the intention of the noble Lord. One has to remember that there is a movement, vaguely called," Keep Britain Anglo-Saxon", and this movement has anti-Semitic overtones. I am concerned about that, because I am sure that it could do a great deal of harm.

There are, of course, other communities in Yorkshire. There are the Ukrainians. They are splendid people, and have entered into the life of the county; but they do like to maintain their own culture. Then there are the Poles. There was a great deal of criticism of the Poles when they first came here, and I remember it very well; but that has calmed down with the passage of time. Earlier there were the Moravians, who built a splendid school in Yorkshire; and there were many others. Many different people have come to the county, and most of them speak with a Yorkshire accent. More recently there have been the West Indians, who have already been told to regard Britain as their home country, and also the Asians. I suspect that if one added up the Irish, Welsh, Scots, Jews, Ukrainians, Poles, West Indians and Asians one would find that the Anglo-Saxons are very much in a minority. This must be very disturbing to those who want to maintain an Anglo-Saxon stock. But I think more disturbing for those who are working for community relations is the tendency to talk in terms of stock, instead of in terms of human beings. If we continually talk in terms of race and colour it will, I assure your Lordships, make the task of those who are working for community relations infinitely more difficult.

4.30 p.m.


My Lords, like every speaker to-day, I rejoice in the fact of to-day's debate. When, in the past, we in this House have debated questions about immigration, it has almost always been either concerning the numbers to be admitted to this country, or concerning the framing of the law in relation to immigrants and discrimination. To-day, I think it may be for the first time, we are debating the whole range of citizen relationships within this country with the knowledge that our citizens have of the different races and the different places of origin. The Report that we are discussing is, I believe, a wonderfully creative document. But while it is so new in its scientific setting out of so many questions, I believe that it will rapidly come to be seen as just one item in a continuously on-growing process of greatly increasing knowledge of all the problems; because I believe it is only just lately that knowledge and understanding of the problems in the scientific way has been growing apace.

In the same way, I believe that it is only recently, and particularly in the last few months, that the putting out of practical energies to tackle the problems has grown very greatly. So much so that I think that if Colour and Citizenship had been written a few months hence it might have had a good deal more to tell about some of the strenuous practical efforts to face problems which are being made in many of our cities. Let me give one instance of a kind of new spirit in the tackling of problems. I think of a school in Wolverhampton, which was opened in September, 1968, with a predominantly coloured school population—a small minority of white children. The headmaster was determined to make it a happy school and a successful school. I quote him: I tried to convince all parents that I was aware of the problems, but I also knew that only time and patience would overcome fears and grumbles. That grew into being a happy school, though teachers left. And, indeed, teachers were doing far more than their statutory duty in visiting children and parents in their homes, getting to know backgrounds, so far as possible, and helping the coloured children to be happy with the white children and the white children to be happy with the coloured children.

That kind of thing is happening in schools in many places throughout the country. Teachers are discovering that what looked like insuperable difficulties are a glorious opportunity for doing something creative. And not only teachers. There are also schools in connection with which the teaching of speaking the English language to small children is undertaken, not by teachers but by volunteers, doing the job with groups of children in their homes and thereby assisting the work of the school, because the ideal of making the school a happy and creative one has caught their imagination.

The Report refers to the role of the Churches in community relations. I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Brooke, that the Church to which he and I belong has hitherto done far too little in this field. I believe, as I shall say in a moment, that it is going to be doing a great deal more; and I think that the Report, Colour and Citizenship, will immensely help in the process. I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Brooke, in the diagnosis he gave of the task of the Churches. There is, on the one hand, the pastoral care of the members of congregations—. though that may not of itself go very far in the solution of problems. There is also the persuading of clergy and members of congregations to give themselves to the service of community problems on a scale that cuts right across parish boundaries.

Here and there in the country, however, some fine leadership is being given by particular clergymen and congregations, and if what is done here and there can become nearer to being normal and universal, it will be a splendid thing. I think of a parish very near to where I live, the parish of St. Matthew, Brixton, where the big crypt of the church is the centre of a very happy, growing, multiracial community who not only enjoy themselves in club activities but also serve the community more widely. In several great cities there is a clergyman with the special task of working in the service of community relations through the city as a whole. That is so at Coventry and in Birmingham, and in other cities as well.

I should like to mention two new developments which are imminent. The British Council of Churches is setting up what it calls a community relations unit. That will amount in practice to a number of field officers whose work it wilt be, not to set up new organisations in localities but to stimulate clergy, ministers and congregations to throw themselves into the practical service of the existing local organisations in community relations. Then shortly after Christmas it will be announced that the two Archbishops are appointing their own officer for community relations. He will be a field officer engaged in the same work of stimulating clergy and congregations to do the kind of things they should be doing, working mainly through the existing organisations and opportunities in the localities.

About prejudice, the impression I gained from conversations with people with an intimate knowledge of local situations confirms the analysis in Colour and Citizenship that the proportion of really vigorous prejudice is low. The Report tells us that 73 per cent. of our people are inclined to tolerance; only the rest, 27 per cent., are liable to be inclined to intolerance. As to the inclination to intolerance, I think that that inclination has been partly fed by people finding themselves, without warning, overwhelmed by big social problems.

But that is not the only cause of it. I think inclination to prejudice also exists in the form of a rather ignorant, apathetic kind of hostility: an attitude which has not had much practical contact with the problems at all but is content to say, "Of course I have no prejudice; of course I am a tolerant man. But we cannot have too many of these people in the country". The phrase "these people" itself betrays a very great ignorance indeed, because if "these people" includes Jamaicans and Pakistanis it is including people as different from one another as either of them are from English, and indeed as different from one another as some of the inhabitants of the British Isles are from one another. I think we have to be careful whenever we—and by the term "we" I am including everyone, including Churchmen and politicians—speak about the undesirability of having too many. Statements to the effect that, "We must not have too many in the country", can be statements about the purely scientific fact that it is easier to grapple with a social problem with fewer numbers rather than with larger numbers. It can be a cry from people who suddenly have been hardly hit by a big social problem. But it can also be a formula that is used by an ignorant kind of prejudice. And of course the phrase, "We do not want too many of them", is a phrase used about—but it is also heard by—second and third generation citizens in this country who are being told, "Yes, you are our fellow citizens, but you are the sort of fellow citizens that we cannot do with too many of." I am only saying that whatever language any of us use—and I dare say I am as much an offender as anyone—it needs to be done with about six times the careful sensitivity that we normally apply to language about human affairs.

Finally, my Lords, a word about the Anglo-Saxons and stock, and what sort of country we want this to be. I suggest that if in this country we are going to have, happily, a proportion of our population of other races and cultures, be it 1 per cent. or 2 per cent. or 3 per cent.; be it a quarter of a million, be it one million or two million, or be it only 100,000, that does affect the kind of ideal that we have for ourselves as a society, because whatever the numerical size of the multiracial problem in this country may be, it will be tackled happily only if we are ready to say, as a country, that multiracial conditions are something not just to be frightened of, because they do have happy and creative possibilities. What sort of country do we want this to be? It is probable that one sort of stock will go on predominating, but considering that we are in a world that is being wracked by the grief of racial tension, let our country in the coming centuries be the kind of country that helps to show the world that it is possible for communities to be multiracial and at the same time happy and creative.

4.45 p.m.


My Lords, I would join with all those noble Lords who have already spoken in thanking my noble friend Lord Walston for initiating this important debate, and also join in appreciation of all those who were concerned with this remarkable document. In my view, one of the most pleasing features of debates in this House is the constructive way in which sensitive and emotional subjects are discussed, and there is no subject on which a constructive and sympathetic approach is more vital than the one we have before us to-day. When it was agreed that I should take part in this debate I thought I would endeavour to put our particular race problems in a world context. I want to remind the House of the increased tensions throughout the world, of which race and colour, on the face of it, are the basic cause. I want to remind the House of many countries which have their own race and colour problem, for some of which we in the United Kingdom must bear a direct and special responsibility, not only as the consequences of slavery but in particular the consequences of indentured labour and our leaving behind economies which are quite unable to sustain the populations that we helped to create in order to meet our own needs and aspirations in bygone days.

I find there is so much to say on this Report, and so many noble Lords wishing to take part, that time clearly prevents my developing this theme which increasingly gives me, and I am sure many others, deep concern. I think we should remember that our problem is small in size compared with that of other nations, and if we cannot solve it then indeed the future of the world is bleak. The size of the problem is basically because we are dealing with human people. I am a fervent believer in the Commonwealth of Nations. I believe that this Commonwealth of Nations, which bridges some 700 million people of every conceivable race, colour, creed and religion is the best, if not the only, hope of easing the present world racial tensions. Therefore I feel bound to pose this question: what chance is there of the Commonwealth playing its role if in the United Kingdom, which many still regard as the centre of the Commonwealth, a Commonwealth immigrant is put before us as someone sinister and a threat to our nation, our culture and our own future?

My Lords, that is put forward by only a relatively small number of ignorant people, but we must recognise, as the noble Lord, Lord Wade, recognised, that these emotive words catch the headlines. They are read overseas, read often by people who do not know us for what we are and who unfortunately believe it. I believe that in the past we have gained much from all our immigrants, and that we shall become richer as a consequence of our Commonwealth friends; and being a truly multiracial country will help us in the world role of easing tension. I do not believe that race and colour in themselves create tension and difficulties; in the main, it is the economic and social disparities that isolate minorities and prevent their assimilation. It is here that we, as a nation, must act and, through our overseas aid, play our part in removing those disparities in the underdeveloped world. As the noble Lord, Lord Brooke, said the other day, we must all be realistic; and I am sure he would agree with me that it is not being realistic if we seek to exaggerate the size of our problem.

The whole project that we are considering to-day is vast. On behalf of the Government I have already given my welcome to this Report, but I fear I must at the same time point out that the Report creates a combination of research findings and political assessments and judgments. There is an obvious and important distinction between the two: while the research findings call for consideration on the basis of their technical competence, what are essentially political judgments cannot claim the same degree of scientific objectivity. It will not therefore be surprising if I indicate that in this area of the Report there are a number of assessments and conclusions which the Government do not endorse. I do not, however, want to emphasise those areas of disagreement, since we all hope for a constructive debate. My general aim in what I am going to say is to give your Lordships a broad picture of the positive action which the Government have been taking in the areas which would be commonly accepted as vital to the problems with which Colour and Citizenship is concerned.

My Lords, Colour and Citizenship and its associated projects, as I have said, cover a wide field, and it would not be possible for me to deal with all these issues. I shall therefore begin by attempting to identify two main issues which emerge from a reading of the Report. The first is the view that the answer to racial questions lies in a concerted attack on all forms of social deprivation as part of the mainstream of national social policy. That is a proposition with which the Government would not disagree. We have always taken the view that social problems—for example, in housing—are not created by immigrants, who are, in themselves, all too often the victims of the environment in which they find themselves when they come to this country; but the presence of immigrants in any community often illuminates existing social defects, sometimes in a dramatic way, and the immigrants are then unfairly blamed for having caused the very difficulties from which they themselves suffer. I well recall, as a young man, that being attributed to the Welsh many years ago.

The main Government social service programmes already give priority to areas of special social need, and, as the House will know, those programmes are now being reinforced by the urban programme which is directed at areas of acute social deprivation. In many of those areas immigrants have made their homes and will benefit equally with other members of the community from these measures. In this way it is to be hoped that some of the current sources of friction and misunderstanding will disappear. Many of the social problems which are associated with the presence of immigrants in the community have similarly been attributed to them on other occasions when immigrants have come to this country. The noble Lord, Lord Wade, drew attention to this.

The noble Lord, Lord Brooke of Cumnor, mentioned a Royal Commission. May I make use of my own researches? In the Report of the Royal Commission on Alien Immigration in 1903 there are two paragraphs which I will read, to show that the problems of to-day are not new. It speaks of the alien immigration of the time: That on their arrival in this country they congregate as dwellers in certain districts, principally in the East End of London, and especially in the borough of Stepney, and that when they so settle they become a compact, non-assimilating community. That this influx into limited localities has caused the native dweller to be dispossessed of his house accommodation, has occasioned overcrowding, has raised the charge for rents, and introduced the abuse known as 'key money'; and that in consequence in certain localities much ill-feeling exists against the Alien Immigrants. Those words, I suggest, have a familiar ring.

The descendants of the people about whom those allegations were made are no longer seen in those terms, and many of them have made an outstanding contribution to our society; but the descendants of recent immigrants from the Commonwealth will continue to be distinguishable by their colour, and they have therefore imported into a not unprecedented situation a new factor which will not be resolved simply by the passage of time, as difficulties resulting from immigration have been resolved in the past. The authors of Colour and Citizenship have recognised this in the title of their Report, and we cannot disregard the fact that the major element in discussions about immigration to-day is that of colour.

This leads me to the second main issue arising from Colour and Citizenship to which I wish to draw special attention, and on which I fear I must be somewhat critical. There is an assumption in various parts of the Report that the Government are not fully committed to genuine equality for all our citizens, irrespective of colour. This is an assumption that I would refute most strongly. The Government's commitment to the principle of equality has always been clearly stated and is now enshrined on the Statute Book in the Race Relations Act 1968, which, as your Lordships know, makes discrimination on the grounds of colour, race or national origin unlawful over a wide range of social activity. The Government have also made clear on numerous occasions their belief that legislation needs to be supported in every possible way by voluntary and administrative action. This principle has been exemplified by the creation under the Race Relations Act of the Community Relations Commission, of which Mr. Frank Cousins is now the executive Chairman.

I have the impression that many of those who criticise the Government on this score and allege that we have no positive policy on the subject are confusing the principle of the policy with its implementation. The principle can be stated very briefly: that there shall be no discrimination on grounds of race, colour or national origin in the life of our community. That is a view which is, I believe, shared by all responsible opinion and about which there is little need for continued debate. What the debate should be about is the implementation of the policy, which can only demonstrate itself over the whole range of Government activity.

The authors of Colour and Citizenship seem themselves to have recognised this in putting forward no fewer than 78 detailed recommendations, mostly directed to central Government. Similarly, the Select Committee of another place set up to consider the problem of the coloured school-leaver put forward some 46 detailed recommendations for the Government to consider. The Government fully accept that this is the way to proceed; that in all their activities the Government should bear constantly in mind the existence in our society of a coloured minority which is entitled to the same opportunities as the rest of the community, but not forgetting a principle which also appears in the Report of the Select Committee—that equality of opportunity does not always mean treating everyone in exactly the same way.

Against this background, I now turn to the three main areas of Government activity which have most relevance to the presence of a coloured minority of British citizens; namely, employment, housing and education. My noble friend Lady Serota will be dealing with many other detailed points, and I would ask her to deal with education. In the field of labour, the Government take it that everyone should be free to seek employment for which he or she is qualified, irrespective of race or colour, and it is in the light of that principle that I shall consider briefly some of the employment recommendations in Colour and Citizenship. Perhaps the most significant of these is the suggestion that management and unions should issue a declaration of policy on equal opportunities, which should be communicated to every employee and trade union member and to the community at large. The Report also recommends that management and unions should each appoint one executive to be responsible for the implementation of the policy.

These proposals are similar to a recommendation which the Select Committee has made in its Report on the problems of the coloured school leaver. There seems to be a consensus of opinion among those who take an interest in the employment of coloured workers that affirmative action to provide opportunities for all, regardless of colour, is likely in the long term to be more effective than simply taking action as the occasion arises to deal with individual complaints of discrimination. The point has been made again recently in an excellent policy document on this subject issued by the Institute of Personnel Management. The Government entirely accept this view and see the provision of equal employment opportunities for all as part of an overall improvement in the labour relations and efficiency of industry.

There remains, however, the practical question of the form which affirmative action should take. First, there should be equal opportunity in recruitment. It is partly with this aim in mind that the authors of Colour and Citizenship recommend that employers should be obliged by Statute to notify all their vacancies to the Department of Employment and Productivity's employment exchanges as they were obliged to do between 1952 and 1956. I need not detain your Lordships with any detailed account of the objections to a reintroduction of compulsory notification of vacancies; these have been explained before both in this House and in another place. Suffice it to say that the Department of Employment and Productivity's experience of the compulsory requirement to notify vacancies between 1952 and 1956 showed that it was, in the event, of limited use to people seeking employment.

It is, of course, important that there should be equal opportunity in recruitment; but it does not end there. Once a coloured worker has joined a firm he may need an induction course and sub- sequent training to equip him for more skilled or responsible work. Here is another opportunity for affirmative action to ensure equal opportunities.

The noble Lord, Lord Brooke of Cumnor, asked whether there were many coloured immigrants going to the New Towns. The answer is, I regret, that only a small number are doing so. The reason I am given is that in the New Towns, with their new light industries, they require highly skilled labour, and regretfully at the present moment this is not to be found among the coloured immigrants. Colour and Citizenship has several relevant suggestions to offer. It recommends, for example, that companies who employ non-English-speaking workers should provide these employees with opportunities to learn English, whether by organising instruction at the place of work or through day release. The Government have already taken action on a recommendation in the Select Committee's Report relating to Industrial Training Board grants for this type of training. At the suggestion of the General Policy Committee of the Central Training Council, the Department of Employment and Productivity has written to all Industrial Training Boards inviting those that do not do so already to consider paying grants to employers who release immigrant staff for, or provide courses in, the English language where this is relevant to their industrial training needs. Most Boards are already able to do this under their grant schemes, but in general little use has been made in the past of the facility by employers, and Boards have therefore been invited to make the availability of these grants widely known in their industries.

In some cases the usual methods which firms use to give their employees industrial training are not entirely suitable for immigrants because, for example, the industrial processes involved are totally new to them. The Department of Employment and Productivity's letter to Boards therefore also invites those concerned with industries which employ substantial numbers of immigrant workers to give special attention to their particular training needs.

We have also given special attention to the question of youth, and we believe that youth employment should remain local. We believe, however, that it needs to be extended. We also believe that the Department of Employment and Productivity, in conjunction with the Youth Employment Service and local education authorities, should institute temporary supervised placements for children in their final year at school in local industries for periods of up to four weeks. The employment services of the Department are at the moment subject to a major review, and the recommendations of Colour and Citizenship will be taken into consideration in this wider context both as regards the advantages or otherwise of a local service compared with a centralised one, and of the integration of the Youth Employment Service with the service provided for adults. There is a sustained effort both by the Youth Employment Training Board and the Central Youth Employment Executive through training to improve the standards of careers officers. The only limit on this effort is the usual one, I fear, of availability of resources.

I could go on a great deal longer on what has been done in the training field, but I see time is moving and I feel that I should say a few words on the question of housing. The Government's policy on housing in a multiracial society was set out in the Command Paper of 1965—Immigration from the Commonwealth—a document which Colour and Citizenship criticises in strong terms, and to my mind unfairly. Paragraph 35 says that: The sole test for action in the housing field is the quality and nature of housing need without distinction based on the origin of those in need". This seems to me to be a fair doctrine and one which does not deserve the criticism that was made of the White Paper. Coupled with the protection afforded by the provisions of the Race Relations Act, it puts coloured people in need of accommodation on the same footing as the rest of the population, and that, I would suggest, is a proper policy to follow.

Inevitably newcomers to any community—to the country or to the district—are likely to be at a disadvantage, whatever their origin. This is particularly so in housing, where they have to compete with others also at a disadvantage and in real need. The serious prob- lems of housing in the older parts of our conurbations and towns must however be tackled equitably. A sub-Committee of the Central Housing Advisory Committee was set up in February, 1968, under the chairmanship of Professor Cullingworth to review the practice of housing authorities in allocating tenancies and rehousing and to suggest rules or principles which should be followed. Their Report, which includes a valuable chapter on housing coloured people, was published on December 1, and Ministers intend to have early discussions with the local authority interests on its conclusions and recommendations.


My Lords, may I interrupt my noble friend for just a moment? He has referred to Professor Cullingworth's Report, and he has given the impression earlier that a coloured population is in no way disadvantaged compared with the ordinary population. That is as I understood him. Would my noble friend then disagree with the remark of Professor Cullingworth in paragraph 368 that the coloured citizen is welcome in the labour market but unwelcome in the housing market?


My Lords, what I was seeking to say was that in national and local authority housing programmes we should try to seek to deal with the persons who live within that area on the same basis, or recognising that there are special problems of the coloured immigrant. There is also the need to tackle unsatisfactory housing conditions where-ever they occur. The main purpose of the Housing Act 1969 is to get much more done, year by year to improve houses which can be improved, and to clear away the slums. A duty is now placed on local housing authorities to review housing conditions in their districts from time to time with a view to dealing with a wide range of unsatisfactory conditions in older houses.

Against this background, I would now turn to some of the detailed findings and recommendations about housing in Colour and Citizenship. The Report points to the need to ensure that coloured people are not involuntarily confined to particular areas; above all, that they need to be given a choice. It is suggested that concentrations may result from a local authority's housing policy; that a danger exists that some twilight areas will be by-passed because of the colour of the residents. The Ministry of Housing have no evidence of any case where a local authority has bypassed an area for this reason. With the impetus given to area improvement and to slum clearance by the provisions of the Housing Act 1969, it will be impossible for any local authority to defer taking appropriate action for very long in respect of an area obviously ripe for action without giving good reasons.

In the case of slum clearance, the Minister of Housing and the Secretary of State for Wales have recently asked all local housing authorities, in a circular issued on November 24, to let them know by the end of January what their programmes are to be for the next four years. Conditions vary too widely for a uniform system of housing allocations, as advocated in Colour and Citizenship, to be practicable. The Cullingworth Committee, while strongly recommending that there should be no barrier to acceptance on a housing list, concluded that in areas of great pressure specific periods of residence before rehousing could be justified, however undesirable this residential qualification may be in general; but both Reports are critical of the practice of some authorities of assessing applicants according to their housekeeping standards. Both Reports also recommend the keeping of records by housing authorities to enable them to satisfy themselves that they are not following practices or policies which lead to the very discrimination which they wish to avoid. They could then make use of statistics as part of an equitable policy-making process.

A copy of the Cullingworth Committee Report has been sent to all local authorities and, as I have already explained, the recommendations are to be discussed with the local authority associations. In the circular forwarding the Report, Ministers particularly commended to authorities' attention the thoughtful chapters on advice and selection, on residential qualifications, on rehousing obligations and on housing coloured people. There are also new powers under the Housing Act enabling local authorities to make schemes for controlling the spread of multiple occupation; but they may not impose limitations for snob or neighbourhood reasons—a provision in certain local Acts to which the Report on Colour and Citizenship takes strong objection. The grounds in future must relate to the suitability of the house or the character of the person who is running it. In other words, the Government will not countenance any suspicion of policies of confinement.

My Lords, this brings me to the question of rents and the allegation in Colour and Citizenship that the Rent Act and the rent regulation machinery have failed to assist the under-privileged. Rent registration covers privately-rented dwellings up to the near-luxury class; that is, dwellings with a rateable value of up to £400 inside and £200 outside Greater London. To look at the effect of the system on the under-privileged, one needs to look at the rents fixed for dwellings at the lower end of the rateable value scale. In the first three years of the rent regulation service, the published figures show that in the lower bands of the rateable value scale, on average there was a decrease in rents, and the lower the rateable value of dwellings the greater, on average, the decrease proportionate to the previous rent.

I do not wish to go into any detail on the statistics about this subject—they have been published—but all the evidence suggests that many of the decreases have occurred in the kind of property that the Milner Holland Committee found, when they looked into the problem, was exploited. All this is not to say that we think everything connected with the rent regulation system, including its scope, is perfect. A Committee has been appointed recently by the Minister of Housing and Local Government under the chairmanship of Mr. Hugh Francis, Q.C., to look into the operation of the rent regulation system.

My Lords, I have said enough—perhaps too much—about housing to show that we are following a progressive policy which will reduce the difficulties faced by those seeking accommodation for themselves and their families, and that immigrants will share in the benefits of this policy on the same terms as the rest of the community; and my noble friend Lady Serota will be dealing with education at the end of the debate. There are many other aspects of community relations in this country covered in this Report which merit close attention, each of which could provide your Lordships' House with material for a full debate. Time does not permit me to deal with them now, but I hope that what I have said on the two main issues of employment and housing has demonstrated the truth of my assertion that there is no difference between the Government and the authors of the Report on the objective to be achieved. I hope, too, that I have also demonstrated that the Government have been taking, and will continue to take, a positive attitude to problems of race relations in this country, and that in dealing with them we are striking a reasonable balance between seeking solutions within the development of our general social policies and paying due attention to the special difficulties created by differences of language and culture, and by racial prejudice.

I should like to make one further general point before I sit down. I said at the beginning that the publication of Colour and Citizenship was a landmark in the history of race relations in this country. It appeared shortly after the Government had put on the Statute Book comprehensive legislation outlawing racial discrimination and creating the Race Relations Board and the Community Relations Commission, which, together with the Government, provide the administrative framework for the working out of policies. We have thus entered a new era in which the machinery for action is established. It is also, I would suggest to your Lordships, an era which is marked by one fundamental difference from the past. Up to now we have been concerned primarily with the social problems associated with immigrants; that is, with people newly and freely arrived in this country to settle here. I do not wish to underestimate the difficulties which have resulted from the arrival of people with different cultures and backgrounds, and often with no knowledge of English or with any adequate command of the language.

We must continue to do all we can for these people; but there is a much greater challenge to face. This will be the presence in this country of men and women who cannot be called immigrants by any definition, who are British-born and British-educated, but are identifiable by the colour of their skin. We must ensure that the prejudices which have unfortunately shown themselves in relation to the newly-arrived immigrant are not carried over to their children, and that these children are accepted as fall members of the community on exactly the same terms as others—no better, no worse. It is, my Lords, a great disservice to this country to put forward the view that people born here with coloured skins are doomed for ever to be alien, and to speak of alien wedges in the centres of our towns and cities.

We shall find ourselves facing the very grave social problems which can flow from the existence of an under-privileged minority only if social and economic pressures based on colour prejudice prevent a recognisable group of people from moving freely throughout our society. Confine them in certain areas of our towns, restrict them to certain jobs and build up a stereotyped life which associates social deprivation with a coloured skin—then, my Lords, our society is damned and condemned. Equally with the authors of Colour and citizenship, the Government are concerned that this situation shall not arise; and they will do all they can to prevent it.

5.22 p.m.


My Lords, I, too, would add thanks to the noble Lord, Lord Walston, for giving us the opportunity of discussing this most important and most human Report. There is much in it that one would wish to discuss, but I propose to confine myself to that important aspect which the noble Lord, Lord Shepherd, has left for later consideration, that of education.

For the last five years the Diocese of London Education Committee has been keeping constantly under review the problem of the education of immigrant children. We can claim to speak with some inside knowledge, for not only have we a considerable number of schools with more than 50 per cent. of immigrant children—and one with at least 70 percent.—but our percentage of immigrant children in schools is roughly equivalent to that over the whole of the Inner London Authority area. In the past fortnight I have been asking some of the clergy in different parts of the diocese who work in areas of concentrated immigrant occupation, and some of the headmasters of our schools there, for their views on some of the problems raised in this Report, and I have been struck by the very great unanimity in their replies.

It is clear—and I think we all recognise this—that the problems of educating immigrant children are basically the same as those of educating English children, particularly in educationally deprived areas. As one of my headmasters put it, "Backwardness is equally spread, irrespective of race; and the apparent backwardness of many immigrant children disappears when they begin not merely to talk in English but to think in English." Then he went on to add, and one could sympathise with him, "Neither is naughtiness a racial characteristic of one race rather than another."

Had it been possible immediately after the Second World War to make proper provision for children in the educational priority areas, so movingly described in the Plowden Report, we should be experiencing much less difficulty to-day in providing for the immigrant children who tend to be concentrated in those areas. Perhaps we need to remember, as this Report. Colour and Citizenship, reminds us, that you cannot expect the schools to do the whole work. There are overriding factors, such as housing, town planning and unemployment, which may affect anything the schools can do. Children are in school for only a relatively small percentage of their waking hours, and we cannot expect teachers, in five hours a day, five days in a week, to undo some of the influences which press upon them—television, broadcasting, films, magazines—and they are very sensitive to the attitude of prestige groups and great personalities.

Even more important (and the Plowden Committee emphasised this), parental encouragement, or the lack of it, outweighs the quality of teaching in school as a determinant of a pupil's progress. At least one headmaster I know in London—and I imagine that there are probably more—is so convinced that here is the crux of the problem that in his own time he is holding classes for parents three times a week, not only to teach them English but to give them some understanding of the opportunities of our edu- cational system, so that they can enter into a proper partnership with the school. And there is indeed a great need for what must be called the adult education of the parents. Perhaps we may hope that the day is not far distant when the managers and governors of a good many of our schools will include representatives of immigrant parents. But there is an educational task to be done in the schools, and the clergy and teachers whom I have consulted all agree that there are five main needs. Here let me repeat that these are needs not only of immigrant children but very often of English children.

The first need is for pre-school groups and nursery classes and more day nurseries. The mothers (and this appears to be particularly marked amongst West Indians) go out to work as soon as possible after the child is born, leaving the baby in charge of a baby minder who is not always very well equipped for that task. To quote one of my own parish priests, "What is happening to the children in the first five years is undermining the effectiveness of the teaching in the next ten years". He went on to add a sentence which has been much in my mind ever since I have read it, "For us, lowering the school age at the beginning is more important than raising it at the end".

The second need is the one that we know all too well: a reduction in the size of classes. There are still classes of 40 in educational priority areas, where ideally there should not be more than 20. And where there are immigrant children with special difficulties of language the classes should be well under 20 if the teacher is to have any chance of doing his or her job properly. The local authorities are doing their best, but lack of money and lack of teachers holds back what everyone agrees to be necessary—to have teachers in the right places. There seems still to be almost a desperate shortage of teachers for these deprived areas. There is one school in the London area that has 87 per cent. immigrant children, and three vacancies for posts of special responsibility on its staff. In spite of the extra financial inducements offered, up to the end of last week the headmaster had not had one single application for two of those vacancies.

Linked with this problem is the need for teachers to be able to live near the schools in which they teach. There is a great deal of evidence that a devoted teacher living within the community, easily accessible to the parents, and available to the children, out of school as well as in, can make a very great difference. Unfortunately, in many cases teachers still cannot find anywhere to live in the areas where they teach. I know of two devoted teachers in one of the outer boroughs of London in an immigrant area who long to go and live where they teach. But they simply cannot find any housing, and apparently they get no priority from housing departments. The Inner London Authority, it is true, has recently made a beginning by setting aside 50 houses or flats for teachers. One hopes that this will be followed up, because the 50 houses or flats that have been made available are in areas where there are several hundreds of schools.

The need becomes more urgent for the appointment of social welfare officers on the staffs of schools, again as the Plow-den Committee recommended. The number of emotionally-disturbed and maladjusted children in the areas of deprivation is increasing, and through no fault of their own many of the immigrant children are emotionally disturbed. The teachers need much more specialist help in dealing with children of this kind; and there is, as I have said, this urgent need for the specialists.

There are, of course, special problems connected particularly with the West Indian children. When their parents come to England, some of the boys who are left behind in the West Indies, perhaps in the care of a grandmother, arrive in this country at the age of 13—they conic in order to get a good education—only to find themselves plunged at once into a secondary school with different attitudes from those they experienced in their own country. They very often need some kind of introductory or conditioning course before they can profit from the school to which they go.

There are also problems with the children who are born in this country, problems perhaps only just now beginning to be recognised in such research projects as that in the Birmingham Institute of Education. These children speak Creole rather than English at home; they are thought to be English-speaking although very often they have a remarkably limited English vocabulary; and they suffer disabilities in school which only a very sensitive teacher can immediately recognise. These are problems to be dealt with by research because we do not yet know the facts. It would seem also that in many West Indian homes there is a family discipline of a kind which is positively Victorian so far as this country is concerned. When children move from the stern discipline at home to the relatively free discipline of an English primary school, the evidence is that this is a rather heady mixture, and they tend either to get very considerably out of hand or else to become, oddly, emotionally disturbed and then perhaps to go on to a further more difficult stage still when they begin to criticise their parents, when they begin to adopt and imbibe the general attitudes of our own disciplines and ways of dealing with things, and they regard their parents as even more "square"—if that is possible—than does the average English child the average English parent. Here again, there is a possibility of maladjustment and emotional disturbance which needs very special care.


My Lords, would not the right reverend Prelate agree that there is some obligation on West Indians coming to this country to find out before they leave what the conditions might be here for themselves, their family and their children? Is that not a reasonable thing to expect them to do?


My Lords, I would agree with the noble Lord. I wish that there were more of a two-way traffic of thought between schools in—shall we say?—the West Indies and the schools here; and that there was real preparation for what they will find for boys and girls who are to be plunged into the English educational system. There have been beginnings in this, but undoubtedly there is an obligation at the sending end as well as at the receiving end. This is a long-term problem which is not to be solved in a few years. For instance, unless the housing situation changes, we may have schools in immigrant areas becoming more and more 70 per cent. and 80 per cent. immigrant children schools. We need to know whether the dispersal policy has had any success. The evidence that I have been able to obtain suggests that the success is very limited and that it has sometimes been damaging rather than the reverse. To pick up a point touched upon by the right reverend Primate, we need more knowledge. A school with a very high percentage of immigrant children need not be a bad school or a second-class school unless it is allowed to become so. Again, the crux of that is whether or not there is an adequate staff. The Huddersfield experiment at Spring Grove showed that teachers, specially-trained and given the right equipment, can make a school a good school. But can this be left solely to the local authorities to deal with as, on the whole, it seems to have been up to this point?

The London Education Authorities are conscious of the need but they have not always got the resources. There is one London borough which has a special education consultant working full-time on the problems of immigrant children. He is wise and understanding but he is working very often against heavy odds. Unless the Department of Education and Science takes a more direct responsibility (perhaps in conjunction with some other Ministries) we shall not get out of the long-term problem. I should like to see some of Her Majesty's Inspectors appointed to look after the existing and future problems of the education of immigrant children. I should like to see more research projects, such as the one at Birmingham on the needs of West Indian children or the research project at Leeds. We need more concentrated experimental work like the work at Huddersfield undertaken by York University and carried out by teachers, well-informed students and sixth formers. Only the resources of the Department and the influence of the Department can ensure that these various projects and experiments have the necessary support.

There is a need perhaps for radical re-thinking of the part which the Colleges of Education can play in equipping young teachers for dealing not so much with the problems of immigrant children as the problems of educating children in a multiracial society. sensitive to its needs and tensions. It is not to be assumed, for instance, that the children of West Indian parents born in England will develop in precisely the same way as an English child. It may be an equally good way but it may not be the same. We do not know yet the facts. Here again, we could perhaps make more use than we do of the considerable number of experienced West Indian teachers in this country who could be consulted more often than they are.

The teachers also need the right tools. There are textbooks into which, inadvertently perhaps, overtones of racial prejudice have crept. They must be examined carefully. There is also a positive need for the books required for this particular job. They can be provided if the effort is made on a big enough scale. I remember that fairly soon after the end of the war, when West African and East African education was beginning to move forward, there was a desperate need for suitable textbooks, not merely English textbooks, but books translated into African vernaculars. The books were provided in a remarkably short time when the Advisory Committee on Education in the Colonies took the initiative and gave the drive. The publishers rapidly seized the opportunity and dealt with it in what was for a few years a most remarkable manner. There is much more that could be said.

The point on which I want to end is the one that I have already mentioned: that we shall not meet adequately a long-term and possibly deteriorating situation unless we treat it nationally on the educational side, as everywhere else. I have said very little about any special part which Church-aided schools might play, as the Report suggests. Basically, a church school and a county school have the same problems and the same opportunities, but perhaps church-aided schools may be said to have an even greater responsibility. I have discussed this matter with the educational leaders of other Churches, and I know that I can speak for them when I say that we shall endeavour, in our schools and our colleges of education, to do all we can. We shall endeavour to develop among the parents of children in our schools and the congregations to which they are attached a real friendship, an understanding and a meaningful partnership. Educationally, we must face these problems nationally if we are to build up the sort of society which has been referred to by noble Lords who have spoken before me, and to which the Report itself refers so movingly: a society in which men, women and children are respected for what they are. That means educating not just immigrant children but the whole population, adult as well as young.

5.42 p.m.


My Lords, we are all deeply grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Walston, for introducing this debate to-day. I imagine that I have the agreement of all your Lordships in saying that the subject we are debating is of crucial importance and a major issue in the world. But the theme running through our deliberations seems to me to stress the difficulties of the immigrant and not to deal adequately with many of the problems that face the white community in our country. If anybody can be said to have a paramount concern for the immigrants and the coloured population of the Commonwealth it is certainly myself. I have in mind the consideration which a nation's population showed to me, and to others, during the last war. I and many others can never be sufficiently grateful to them for the way they helped us in the most dire circumstances. There is, nevertheless, this great problem facing the British people, of having to assimilate a coloured population, and a great number of these people, in a very short space of time.

I remember going back to the Far East at the end of the last war. We had been supported and sustained by these people; we felt that we should make some real effort to integrate with them in some way—as is anticipated in Britain. We flung open all the clubs in Malaya to Indians, Chinese, Malays and Eurasians. They were offered membership on the same terms as ourselves. The same applied to the native populations; they opened up their clubs. The fact remained that, in spite of this effort at what one might call integration, these national communities preferred to remain among themselves. When we talk of integration in Great Britain I often wonder whether we believe that the immigrants who are here will naturally integrate with us. What I greatly fear—and I think this probably will happen—is that there will be, for example, an Indian community living in an area; that that area will get bigger and bigger, and that the people of that nationality will show a great reluctance to move out into some other part of the country.

With respect to the right reverend Prelate and those who sit on the Bishops' Benches, I feel that in all these arguments they tend to think all the time of the coloured flock and not enough of their white flock. There are difficulties, but I sometimes wish that at least an impression could be created abroad that those who think like this are concerned also with the native population of this country.

My noble friend Lord Brooke was right when he said, in the concluding part of his speech, that he thought there was more concern for the problems of the immigrant than for the problems of the native population here. If we can get this matter into its proper context, then racial discrimination and racial tension will dissolve. We shall then have a contented, integrated society, with all the people feeling that they are fairly treated. But when there is a feeling that one is getting advantage over the other, the situation becomes very nearly impossible. I cannot understand why that issue has not been brought to the forefront of our deliberations when we have been debating this subject. I pay tribute to the writers of this Report. I have read all 700 pages of it, and I am convinced that it is a valuable document, particularly for matters of research or when problems arise; it is a document to which reference can be made in the future. We owe a great deal of gratitude to its compilers.

Looking at the noble Lord, Lord Ritchie-Calder, I often wish that he and his brother scientists had not gone so fast in the world to-day, bringing us all so quickly face to face with one another. The world to-day is one unit. Nations, having been brought together as they have—coloured populations and white populations—have to learn to live together in harmony and peacefully. Otherwise we shall blow ourselves to pieces. When the Prime Minister of Singapore was in Britain in January he said that there were two things with which the British people were obsessed: the balance of payments and the problems of race. He went on to say that racial problems are not endemic only to Great Britain: the Japanese have a first-class racial problem in Japan, and other nations also have racial problems. He felt that we should get this problem into balanced perspective.

There is one statement in the Report (it is on page 755) which I think should not be there at all—I hope that I am not putting a wrong interpretation on it. It makes me wonder whether the person who wrote the concluding chapters of this Report wrote them with a preconceived idea of how racial problems should be solved. I do not know, but some of the statements lead me to think that the authors had some preconceived conceptions on how to solve racial problems, and that such conceptions make those problems more complex and far more difficult. On page 755 of the Report it says: … the black man the world over is struggling to reassert himself after centuries of oppression. To me that is monstrous, and I cannot understand how a statement of that sort could get into a Report published for the Institute of Race Relations. We might think that such a statement would be justified in some countries. I would hesitate to say anything about the country on the other side of the Atlantic where they may have had social problems from which the endemic Black Power might have emanated to this country. But it does not apply to us. The Report states that the black man is "struggling to reassert himself after centuries of oppression". Oppression by us, my Lords?

It so happens that I have in my possession a letter, dated December I, to a former colonial civil servant from the Prime Minister of Singapore. It is a letter between friends and there is nothing in it to which anybody could take exception. It is an example of the sort of thing that goes on, and it demonstrates the value of the Commonwealth. It is a letter from Mr. Lee Kuan Yew to me, as a result of our deliberations here in November, when we discussed overseas representation. I may divulge that much of it. He says how much he values the association in the Commonwealth between his country and this country. If we in the Common- wealth had been guilty of oppression, would a Prime Minister of an independent country write a letter of that type to a Member of your Lordships' House? I do not think so.

The Report suggests that the British people must accept the advent of Black Power. We are being told what we must accept. It is extraordinary to me that we should be considering a statement like that which has got into this race relations publication. Black Power is a meaningless irrelevance in this country. But the fact that the statement is in the Report does not help to relieve the tension that we know exists in this country.

Recently we have debated the question of the Springboks' tour—I do not want to go into that matter too deeply—and the relevance of demonstrations in modern society. The noble Lord, Lord Wade, moved a Motion on the subject. This Report admits that there is racial intolerance in this country and that some people may be a little less tolerant than others. But, in a country where it is said that racial intolerance exists, there are people who are demonstrating against another country because they do not like apartheid. They demonstrate and they march. Is not that a most abject form of hypocrisy and self-righteousness? Other noble Lords may not agree with me. I did not take part in the debate on Lord Wade's Motion, but I listened to all the speeches. I know that some noble Lords have taken part in marches and have been proud to join in the processions. These are all things which increase tension. Noble Lords do not seem to understand that.

Despite what was said by the most reverend Primate, I have seen people of the Church in these demonstrations and they appear to be very concerned about what is happening in a country far away from ours. But, so far as I know, they are quite silent about what happens in this country. It seems to me that they are being silent about things that matter. We want leadership. We are asked by people to read what is in this Report, and take the trouble to form some policy which would lead to racial tolerance in this country. How can they trust us to do that if they witness some of the things that I have seen? I may be wrong, but I think that such things are self-righteous and hypocritical.

My Lords, we have, of course, an immense problem on our hands. I want the Commonwealth to stay together and a success made of it. I want to see us surmount our difficulties in this country. But in view of what the noble Lord, Lord Ritchie-Calder, and his friends have done, I wonder whether we are not being moved far too fast and whether we are not trying to do things too fast. I think we should try to sort out our problems here and get those immigrants from the Commonwealth who are already here properly settled and properly housed, living in proper, decent conditions. Our own society should accept them before we bring in more Commonwealth immigrants. We should get the matter into proportion.

My Lords, I may be considered a racialist for saying this, but I do not care. I have come to the conclusion that it is time that someone tried to speak out and state what he really believes. I think it might be necessary to get the Commonwealth leaders together. We never to get them together. Sometimes, when Ministers make statements abroad, people talk about us being a "toothless bulldog" and so on. From what I know of them, I think other people would be far more impressed if, instead of not saying anything, we gave a polite answer. This is a Commonwealth problem and not only our problem. We cannot be a repository for all the world's ills. I think that we must concentrate on the problem here and get it sorted out. In the meantime, I think we should curtail immigration from the Commonwealth generally.

5.59 p.m.


My Lords, like every noble Lord who has spoken I welcome this debate very much. I welcome it because of the very useful suggestions that have been evoked during the speeches which we have heard. As a nation we have always been proud of the fact that in our country the maximum possible scope for choice is the right of each one of us. We have always believed that opportunity, as such, should be open to everyone; but I think it fair to say that in both cases knowledge of the right approach and of access to special information or special advice is not easy to obtain. Action at the local level is far removed from central policy.

I propose to be as brief as I can and to confine myself to the problems confronting anyone trying to acquire a house in this country; the complications and difficulties which present themselves to anyone who is seeking a dwelling place. From the start the house-hunter encounters a maze of rules and regulations which he had never previously known to exist. Having found the property, through a house agent, he discovers that there is a rule about what has to be paid to the house agent for finding the house. He is told that he must put down a deposit and that he can apply for a mortgage. He knows nothing at this stage, poor man! of surveyors and their charges, and he understands little or nothing of what a solicitor means when he talks of searches, ground rents and local restrictions.

At that moment, the house-hunter believes that when application is made for a mortgage it is automatically granted and he is bemused to find that the mortgage company, in turn, instructs a surveyor before they will agree to lend him the much-needed capital. He knows nothing of the hazards of restrictive covenants and is confused in regard to the niceties of possible grants. be they for conversion or for discretionary or welfare purposes. He has great difficulty in understanding central regulations and cannot comprehend local by-laws.

The hazards are manifold. When application is made for a mortgage there is always the assumption that the applicant has some initial capital. There seem to be endless fees to be paid and it is very necessary to obtain insurance cover at the earliest moment. And there are endless forms which must be filled in—forms, always forms, and in the most unintelligible language and in the most minute print. Then there is the need to tide over the time between acquiring the house and obtaining the mortgage, the difficulty of understanding local regulations and their application, and the everlasting, inevitable delays. Most people trying to acquire a house have never dealt with a surveyor before; a solicitor and an insurance agent are not people they know well, and all these separate entities and the bills that keep on coming in are terribly confusing to them. If one does not succeed in getting a mortgage quickly enough the house may be snapped up by someone else. That is not merely a disappointment to the unsuccessful applicant for a mortgage; it is a real disaster. I believe that if there were a sympathetic person to whom puzzled would-be houseowners could turn, a great number of queries need never become problems. But such a person would need to be well versed in everything to do with housing in every single one of its aspects. He would need to be able to diagnose what has gone wrong when it has done so, where it has got stuck, or why it never got off the ground; and, above all, he would need to have endless patience. I say that for two reasons; first, because I have had considerable experience in the field of housing for more years than I care to remember and am conscious of the endless pitfalls that await the unknowing, and, secondly, because I have found that an understanding official can disentangle in a matter of minutes muddles which have taken months to construct and which have awaited solution for much too long.

Many of us in this Chamber are descended from people who were foreign to our British soil. I am proud of my Huguenot ancestry. But I regret that, in spite of the gifts that immigrants of the past have brought with them, unchristian tendencies are being evoked in our midst to-day because of the pigment of skin. When my ancestors fled to this country, they and their friends and co-religionists clustered together in East Anglia; but now they have scattered far and wide. Opportunity, as it presented itself, was seized, and it led to a variety of different living. There was lack of skill and absence of cash, but very soon work was undertaken and homes established. Is it too much to hope that to-day, with an intelligent and enlightened public, the same can be done, if only more people will take the trouble to help in assisting those who are new to our ways? Should not normal, decent understanding prompt us to be helpful to the coloured citizens who have come to live here?

Local authorities, like human beings, vary in ability, in understanding and in capacity, but, with the aid of their collective associations, perspective can be obtained for defining policy at every level of local undertaking. From my association with them, I have the highest opinion of, and belief in, these representative bodies. I believe that their advice and steering are still vital to the right direction of to-day's housing programmes. Housing is essentially a local problem, but human beings are a national responsibility and we in this Chamber bear a great deal of that responsibility. Those of us who work in the field of housing are aware of the great deal that is being done, and we also know that there is real evidence that where local authorities have had the courage to undertake and carry through a difficult task, their policy has experienced little or no difficulty. I believe that what we must work for and encourage is a stimulus to the avoiding of discrimination.

Dispersal has always been a maxim in this country in regard to the persons who come to this land from abroad; but, to attain this objective, it is imperatively necessary to adopt flexibility in order that the maximum scope for choice may be available. That is where antidiscrimination legislation will, as it is applied, help considerably; and of course any assistance through the intricacies of acquiring a house, of mortgage application and obtaining, will be of considerable support to the applicant. Housing lists to-day, as has already been mentioned, are being handled on the basis of need, and the private sector is showing new opportunities in a variety of directions.

If we are serious, I think that we must recognise that housing for immigrants presents much the same difficulty as language can do. Misunderstanding, absence of information, lack of reliable advice—all these show that basically this is a hard problem which must be solved. Furnished lodgings are expensive at the best of times, and to the unknowing they not only can be a cruel exploitation but can be translated into an actual rebuff to living. Conditions for many of those who live in any form of multi-occupation can be uncomfortable, but they are doubly and trebly so for those who know nothing of our ways of living, of social amenities that could help them or of normal local regulations that might come to their assistance. We are to-day in a position where anyone, if they are worthy of it, can grasp an opening and make good, and we have evidence of this around us in every direction. Surely we adult human beings, with faith in the religion we profess or with conviction in the philosophy we hold, can achieve something practical.

I should like to suggest that for two or three years a man or woman be available centrally who could be an unraveller of knots, a diagnostician of what has gone wrong. an adviser as to better procedure; and that the local government associations be approached for their assistance in this direction. I would suggest that real, practical help be given to housing associations, which have endless problems in regard to planning permission, local or central loans (whether they be for conversion, building, subsidy, hostel or improvement grants) and, above all, high rates of interest. I do not ask for special provisions for immigrants as such, but I do ask for interpretation in this field of housing by a sympathetic, knowledgeable and understanding human being. For those of us who embark on the adventure of acquiring a house the machinery is confusing, the language on forms and directions un-understandable. How much more so must it be for those who have not complete mastery of our language! We supply interpreters to eliminate language difficulties. Could we not also supply a super-interpreter to help those who are stumbling through the intricacies of housing in all its manifold and difficult complexities?

6.10 p.m.


My Lords, in associating myself with others in your Lordships' House in thanking my noble friend Lord Walston for initiating this debate, my rapture is somewhat modified by the size of the document which had to be studied in order that I might take some intelligible part in these proceedings. It is longer than John Wesley's Sermons. But just as John Wesley made provision for those weak-minded people and abridged his sermons, so I am grateful to hear that there is an abridgment of this particular document which may be more assimilable to a larger community.

I should like at the outset to say that though I accept the stricture of the noble Lord, Lord Gridley, as to the way in which some people seem to be more con- cerned about immigrants than they do about the resident population, I would aver that that does not apply to people like myself. I do not care a fig what the colour of a man's skin is—or I hope I do not—and what I shall have to say I hope will be comprehensive, in the sense that it is not directed either to the immigrant as he comes in, or to the receiving community as it receives him, or does not. I should like to begin by talking about the document as a whole, for I think it is a most remarkable document. It is a most remarkable document because it is semantically a complete answer (whether it is authoritative or not) to a prevailing attitude to immigration which I find more widespread than I care to think, and which I deplore much as find it.

I was the other night attending, for evangelical purposes, a Fascist meeting, and I received a fair amount of literature, not all of it encouraging. There is a widespread impression that only a few extraordinary and somewhat exotic people would defend the immigration principle as it now works in this country, and that there is a widespread and ever-increasing distaste for it. I find that the document gives irrefutable evidence that if you link those who are inclined to he tolerant—which I suppose is a potential state of grace—with those who are tolerant, you will find that it comprises nearly 70 per cent. of the community. That is an astonishing statement, for which the evidence seems to me to be acceptable and which completely gives the lie to the assumption that we are moving towards a state of society in which the vast majority of our citizens dislike or hate, or at any rate are malevolently inclined to, the immigrant population.

Then, again, I am repeatedly told that the economic condition of this country is being bankrupted by the infusion of immigrant labour and all the attendant miseries that come from a lowering of industrial and other standards. I find that Professor Preston, in his valuable contribution to this document, gives evidence, for which, once again, I can find no refutation, even if I desired so to do, that, on the whole, the economic condition of this country has been improved rather than has become deteriorated by this process. I suppose that one of the most widely advertised fallacies is that there are upwards of 5 million of these immigrants among us. If you go to Southall you may well believe this for the time being, until perhaps you go to Cheltenham and have your opinion reversed. But, as a matter of simple fact, the number is under 1 million; and the prognostications that by the 'nineties we shall have 4 to 5 million, even if we have not got them now, is almost completely refuted. I think the noble Lord, Lord Brooke of Cumnor, accepts that, from the estimates as they are at present available, it will probably be very much nearer 2 million, which would not represent more than 4½, per cent, of the total population.

This is a eupeptic document. It is a most encouraging document, because it leaves the options open. It does not say that there are no problems to be faced; but, far from taking a gloomy and apocalyptic view of the situation, it invites us to buckle to and deal with perfectly accessible and treatable situations; and if we so do with wisdom, understanding and patience, we can begin to set the example of the multi-racial society, as in these Islands we have previously set the example of constitutional government.

Had not other noble Lords spoken with address, sympathy and expertise on the question of housing I should have delayed your Lordships a little to talk about it. I would permit myself one observation. I think—and this follows from the speech of my noble friend who spoke on behalf of the Government—that what is happening is that there is far more of housing now as a service within a community, which is indeed a community that is planned. But we still need to impress upon people who are on the periphery of these matters that, just as health is a service ministry and just as education is a service ministry, so, pari passu, housing should be a service ministry. It is, I think, incontestable evidentially from the Report that where the failure has been most marked in the decent accommodation of the immigrant it has been a failure within the sector of private rented accommodation. Therefore I hope that the Government will give further evidence that they are moving irresistibly towards the concept of housing as a service to be as imperatively rendered as is the service of health and of education. No more will I say about that.

I am interested in chapter 16 oL the Report, which describes the failure of laissez-faire as a policy and sets forth the proposition that if at the beginning of an immigration programme you do not embark upon ordered restraint, then sooner or later you will become involved in ad hoc restriction; and the planned society indeed is imperative in the complexities that now face those who would endeavour to move into a multiracial society. It is of interest that on November 10, 1955, in answer to a Question by a Member of the other House, the Prime Minister at the time, Sir Anthony Eden (as he then was), deliberately refused at that point to institute or to contemplate control. It is no secret that both the principal Parties have vacillated between ad hoc restrictions and general purposes that may be regarded as part of the planned society. I believe in the planned society. And I make no bones about it that, so tar as I see it, here is one of the test cases whereby we either commit ourselves to ad hoc restrictions and programmes that have no continuity and no sense of centrality, or we set ourselves the much more formidable task of regarding this matter as a continuing problem in which the community as a whole must distribute its benefits and share the difficulties.

I turn to the Church. I accept once again the strictures of the noble Lord, Lord Brooke of Cumnor. I think it is undoubtedly true that we have been more concerned with the evangelical attempt to get individuals to Heaven than the more practical job of establishing the Kingdom of God. I notice that, somewhat snidely, the remark is made in the Report that our congregations are going down. So they are (though we take some comfort from the fact that they may be stabilised at a lower level), and it may be that the general work of the Christian Church must concentrate much more upon that which belongs to the week-day than that which previously was more or less segregated to the Sunday.

Here, however, I would put in a caveat. I have no experience of the attempt to do what the noble Lord and the Report both advocate, participation by voluntary bodies in this area, and I would enter the caveat that it is not so easy as it may sound. In fact, I think the Report is a little naive and jejune in its recommendations. I was responsible for setting up a multiracial church in Notting Hill. There is all the difference between a meeting of 100 people where 49 are black and 51 are white, and a meeting where 51 are black and 49 are white. There is a marked difference between the capacity of leadership among those who are Europeans and those who are not. In fact, it would be the general complaint and the admission, I think, of all who are working in this field—and they are not a few—that the endeavour to produce leadership that is not paternalised in terms of the European is one of the most difficult problems that we have to face.

Furthermore, how heartily do I agree with the last speaker that perhaps the most effective use of the community, the church community and other voluntary communities, is the provision not only of categorical advice, but of the taking of the hand of the person to he advised and leading him to the place where that advice can be effective. This is a matter on which I have some experience, but not nearly as much as the noble Baroness. But it is a matter upon which I think the Churches can do a far more effective job than hitherto.

In this field there are necessary inhibitions which have to be faced. I referred a moment ago to paternalism. There are limits to what can be done by those who are professedly advocating Christianity in an area such as Southall. where there is a predominant Sikh minority—in fact in certain areas it is almost a majority. I do not think you can expect a Methodist mission hall to share its services with a Sikh hall in the same building. If you do you will be creating all kinds of problems that are not just those of prejudice or narrow-mindedness. On the whole (and if there is any prospect of this from the Government side, I shall be most happy to follow it up), we should be prepared to sell a number of our premises which are no good to us and might be of greater use to other people. There is a proliferation of church premises. many of which are only half used and most of which, I think, could be better used. In the end. I imagine that there is one particular function that the Christian Churches ought to fulfil; and it echoes something of what the noble Lord, Lord Gridley, had to say: that the Churches must acquaint their members, many of whom are quite prejudiced people, with the brute facts of the case and with the kind of evidence that has been deployed this afternoon and this evening.

There is a very important role for the Churches and other voluntary bodies to fulfil, but I hope I shall not be regarded as a fatalist if I say that in my judgment the most imperative field is still Government action in regard to housing. For it is here that most of the evils have their source, and it is here that most of the problems have first of all to be faced. The prospect that is offered in the Report, and the eloquence of its last pages, invites us to believe that we are moving into an area which we perhaps did not choose and hitherto have badly managed; but it is inescapable. If that is so. the Report is at least confident. Here I will put in one point that is not in the Report, though it is indicated in the calculations as to what may be the future population of the immigrant and his condition. These propositions rest on assumptions, none of which is necessarily true, and there are already indications that would vitiate any hard prophecy—and prophecy is a very dangerous activity anyhow for Marxists and Christians. I make no prophecies, but I would indicate that the tendency for immigrants to go back home is increasing. Last year, 14,000 of them went home, and it may well be that many more will do so in years to come.

I would remark that in the Report there is coyly noted that the fertility rate among West Indian women tends to decrease, and I have practical evidence of a problem which, although it may sound superficial and almost trivial, is nevertheless a very real one. It is the problem of smells when you are in contiguity and next door to people of other cultures. It is—and this may comfort your Lordships—that there is a disposition in the second stage of immigration, and among the children of immigration, to prefer fish and chips to curry. If you think about that, it has a very marked influence on the nostalgia, to say nothing of the other aspects of the assimilation which is now going on, and to which my right reverend friend the Bishop of London made reference. My Lords, I do not believe that this is an insoluble problem. We are eventually moving into a multiracial society of which we can see but the barest outlines as yet. What we have—and it is perhaps the one supreme advantage—is the opportunity while we have time, as this particular document asserts, to make up our minds what is right; to set our sails in the direction of justice; to move with passion and compassion. I will sit down by saying that I was much encouraged by reading this document. It is a document which invites action; which sets its face completely against any futility of action, and encourages us to believe, whether we are totally, or largely, Anglo-Saxon—or have mixtures of other cultures—that we have a tradition which encourages us to go forward in hope.

6.27 p.m.


My Lords, I wish I had the ability of the noble Lord, Lord Soper, to speak without notes. Like him, and like everybody else, I am especially grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Walston, for initiating this debate. I am particularly grateful because if he had not done so I doubt whether I should ever have taken the trouble to read the fascinating but formidably lengthy Report which we are now discussing—and I am very glad to hear that a shortened version may be available to the general public. The facts—and they are facts, my Lords, not mere opinions—it contains should be widely known, for they clear up many misconceptions about the coloured immigrants who have come to live among us.

There are some curious ideas going about on the subject of race and colour. The publicity given to the perfectly innocent remarks of the noble Lord, Lord Brooke of Cumnor, shows that a good many people think that there is some peculiar merit in being of Anglo-Saxon decent. In fact the Anglo-Saxons were so thoroughly conquered a thousand years ago that King Ethelred the Unready actually had to pay the Danes to go away; a pathetic idea which I understand has been revived quite recently in Wolverhampton. In 1066 the Anglo-Saxons were finally defeated by the Normans and became a conquered race. They were a fairly mongrel lot to start with; anyone who thinks he has a proud claim to pure Anglo-Saxon descent might do well to look into his forebears a little more closely. My own family name is Seymour, a corruption of St. Maur. The saintly Moor who arrived in France after the Moorish conquest of Spain apparently claimed descent from an Ethiopian prince who was descended from King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba. So the progenitor of the noble house of Seymour was half-Jew and half-black, and a bastard to boot.

My Lords, the Report Colour and Citizenship covers such an enormously wide field that I fear we should have to have a debate lasting well into next year if we were to give it all the attention which it undoubtedly deserves. The implementation of the recommendations made in the concluding chapters would enhance the whole way of life, not only of the immigrants but of the entire British nation. I hope that this will indeed happen; but I recognise that it will take many years, perhaps even several generations to achieve.

I should like to draw your Lordships' attention particularly to just two aspects of what I think one must call "the colour problem". They affect everybody and they are at the very root of a great deal of trouble. They are housing and education. The housing situation in this country is a national scandal. I am amazed that it has been referred to this afternoon in terms of such extreme moderation. I honestly do not believe that it is being treated with the urgency that is required. I believe that there is one small and unpopular measure which would help to relieve the housing shortage over the next decade, and that is to alter the rent restrictions Acts in such a way as to make it profitable once again for private enterprise to build houses to let. Nothing will solve the housing problem except the building of more houses. That is so obvious a statement, and yet the building of more houses does not seem to me to be given the urgent priority that is needed. It surely must be stupid not to encourage the building of houses in every possible way. I do not think it is even a political question; we just simply need more houses.

The shortage of houses is bound to make race relations worse. It affects racial prejudices twice over: first, in leading white people to resent the presence of coloured people in houses that white people might want for themselves; secondly, the mere fact that there is a shortage of houses means that all too often a coloured immigrant, who on arrival in this country is probably starting on a low wage, is forced by circumstances into inferior accommodation. In other words, his home is in a slum. This again reacts at once in more racial prejudice, for a man living in a slum is going to find it that much more difficult to gain the respect of his neighbours and to get himself a better job; and his children are going to find it that much more difficult to form friendships with children from comfortable council houses whom they may meet at school.

The Report says: the system of housing allocation is one of the two major determinants of the structure of race relations in Birmingham". The other determinant is differential access to employment. The steps that could be taken by local authorities to help the housing situation of immigrants are very fully and clearly set out in the Report. I should like, if I may, to quote one paragraph because it is of such importance that I feel it cannot be said too often. It is this: We recommend that local authorities be encouraged to take a more positive attitude both towards applications from immigrants for mortgages, and to requests from immigrant house owners for improvement grants. The impulse towards house ownership in new minorities is one of the major factors that distinguishes them, both Asian and West Indian, from the majority of inhabitants of a twilight zone. It is essential that it should be built upon as a means of allowing those who wish to leave the inner areas to finance the operation, and those who remain to improve the conditions under which they are living. In either case, the link between colour and squalor which is at the root of so many difficulties can be broken. Many speakers have already touched upon the housing problem, and obviously it is at the very roots—"the link between colour and squalor".

My Lords, this House contains so many experts on education that I hesitate even to mention the subject, but it is of such dominating importance to the whole fabric of our society and to the whole racial problem that I want to mention two very small points to which perhaps not enough attention has been paid in the recent past. The widespread misconception that coloured people are inferior to white people can only be strengthened while a noticeable proportion of coloured people not only live in slums but also speak poor English and give an impression of a lack of education. It is obviously difficult, if not impossible, for an ordinary English teacher to teach children who do not speak English. So I would suggest that far greater efforts should be made to teach teachers to teach English. On this, may I again quote the Report: Local educational authorities should be more active in arranging courses and in devising means of releasing a greater number of serving teachers for training courses in the teaching of English to non-English speaking pupils, and to West Indian pupils. This applies to teachers of children in all age groups—nursery to secondary age. In addition, part-time courses should be arranged for nursery and infant teachers and for other teachers, not English language specialists, on immigrant backgrounds, and on the follow-up remedial approaches needed for immigrant pupils no longer attending special language classes. As so few teachers at present receive any special preparation for teaching immigrant children, and feel at a loss when they are confronted with their educational and cultural problems, local education authorities should organise one week crash induction courses for probationers. Teachers who have had at least one year's special training, whether pre-service or in service, should receive an appropriate salary addition. I hope I may be forgiven for quoting at such length, but I think it is very important.

The second point I want to make on the subject of education is equally simple and obvious, but again I am not sure that it is being adequately covered. It is the provision of pre-school play groups for very small children before they go to their local infants' school. My own children have benefited from attending these play groups; but how much more important and useful it must be for a child whose mother speaks little or no English. We have all heard of the old saying, attributed to the Jesuits: Give me a child for his first seven years and he will be a Christian for life. I have probably got the quotation wrong, but modern psychiatry has confirmed the importance of the very earliest years in a child's life. That is why I want to lay such stress upon the teaching, first, of the English language and, secondly, of English customs and manners to all immigrant children, not only in school, but also in the play groups which they can begin attending before they reach the age of five.

I feel that I have touched only the fringe of this vast and vitally important subject, but I also feel, in view of the large number of noble Lords who are waiting to speak, that I have talked quite long enough. I think we are all agreed that racial prejudice is an evil thing. We have to admit that it exists in this country. It will continue to exist until we can provide decent housing and adequate education for all our poorer citizens, whether they be black or white. It will not come right very quickly, nor without great efforts being made. However, I feel fairly hopeful about the future. The generation who are now growing up are far less colour conscious than their predecessors. It seems to me that they are more inclined to judge a man upon his merits than upon his social background; and if coloured immigrants were to be judged only on their merits, then I do not think we should have much more racial trouble. Finally, my Lords, I should like to say just one word to any immigrant who may be arriving in England at this time of Christmas: that word is, "Welcome!"

6.38 p.m.


My Lords, I should like to associate myself with all noble Lords who have expressed appreciation to the noble Lord, Lord Walston, for raising this matter with us, and also to join with him in the hearty commendation of the work done by the particular individuals who have produced this remarkable and important document. Clearly, with my periods of residence abroad I am not an authority on what should be done at home, as so many noble Lords who have spoken will be, but I have ventured to intervene because 12 years of my service abroad has been among the peoples of Asia, and perhaps one is enabled to see a little of this problem from outside as well as from inside.

I should like to start by recapitulating certain principles which would appear to me to govern this whole situation, and then to pass on to one or two points of action, and notably raise at the end one which I do not think your Lordships' House has yet considered in this context. I think the principles that we start on are first the obvious one that all men are created equal. Then the second one, which is less welcome but which I was glad to see was accepted by the noble Lord, Lord Shepherd, is that there is something about colour which makes the treatment of coloured immigration somewhat different, somewhat longer to solve, than the treatment of other immigration. Two people who meet each other and are of different colour have some kind of reaction to each other, which may be biological or physical or historical but which has to be overcome if a community is to be totally happy.

The great gain that has been made in recent years is one which was alluded to by the noble Marquess who has just spoken; namely, that we are beginning to overcome the feeling which I have no doubt existed in this country, that somehow if you were not white or pink you were inferior. This superstition is decreasing with sensational rapidity, and this is a phenomenon which you can indeed know if you are a British person living outside Britain. The things that are told of our forefathers on this score, contrary to the many things that are told to their credit, are not very happy, and one is delighted to see the performance of the modern generation in this respect.

Another governing factor in this situation was the one dealt with at length by the noble Lord, Lord Brooke of Cumnor. It is an extraordinary historical fact that we took a major historical decision in the years, I suppose, 1959–60–61, without being really conscious that we had taken it. We had in fact taken the decision that in future this country would be to a significant degree a multiracial society. We did it, not in any abnegation of our feeling for the Commonwealth, but indeed precisely as the noble Lord, Lord Brooke of Cumnor, explained, because we were trying to maintain a liberal Commonwealth policy, not practised by all the Commonwealth by any means, of a coming and going of people from the Commonwealth. It was because of apprehension as to the ultimate result of this being maintained that we then restricted the immigration of coloured people, but at a moment when we had already established the main objective that we should in future be to a significant degree a multiracial society. My Lords, these are major ideas and major decisions, and in my view what has been encouraging about this debate so far is that nobody has tended to look back on this series of events and these basic propositions in anger. I am sure that this is right and important, because if you look back on things like this in anger, anger bounces off the back wall and clouds your judgment for the future.

So we are left with two main questions: one is "how many", and the other is "how". The problem of how many was dealt with largely in the debate on immigration, but it is not irrelevant to "how", because it was not irrelevant to the stage at which we put on the brake. On this I would only say that there is still disagreement on how we control the "how many" factor in this mixed community problem. On this I think we have to be guided by the degree of strain which the coloured immigration puts on the people who are already here. Tolerance is growing, and I think it will grow, but if we are to make successful a struggle which is by no means assured of success, then we must always watch for the danger signals, and the way in which one has to watch is for the political leadership to show great responsibility in measuring what we can do and what we cannot manage at any given time.

If I may now proceed to the "how", here again I think the great encouragement to be derived from this debate is that we have all sought to approach this subject positively in the language and in the manner suggested in the Report. Probably in this matter, as in many others, we have got about to the end of appointing people to see that other people do not do certain things. We now have to go forward to doing various things, and I have a few comments on these various things. First, speaking as a former civil servant, I should hope that the Government would give some thought to the suggestion made by the noble Lord, Lord Walston, of a committee structure to watch developments from the point of view of race relations. My experience suggests that one never quite knows whether a committee is necessary until one forms it and sees whether it does anything, or indeed has genuine work to do, but in this case I think there would be much to be said for the experimental trying out of a committee of review—not of co-ordination, but of review—to see that things were going ahead in a balanced way on all fronts and at an even and balanced pace.

Also on the governmental side I would just put in a word about getting rid of one abrasion which sometimes comes into the argument, and that is on the handling of the other end of official matters between people who wish to come to this country and officials of this Government. I should like to assure your Lordships that the work which is done on that in these sometimes remote posts is conscientious, compassionate and fair. In this, great credit is owed to those members of the home Civil Service who have come to join our consular staff, quite contrary to their plans for life and to their expectations; to join in this work with their great expertise and their great patience to help. I hope there will be no further suggestion that this work is being done in any way without thoroughness or without compassion.

Also on the para-governmental level, may I say that I thought that one noble Lord who intervened underrated the value of inviting former members of the Voluntary Services Overseas, either at the pre-graduate or post-graduate level, to help in this problem. People who really live among those communities, as members of them, which our V.S.O. people have to do, are priceless treasures. They have a fresh and inside knowledge of how people think and why they react in the way they do, and I am quite sure that in the short term, at any rate, these young people can be of the greatest value in helping in community relations in the communities where they live or where they may be invited to serve for short periods.

On the subject of housing I shall say nothing, being inexpert. On the subject of education, may I just complement one thing that was said by the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of London. The right reverend Prelate mentioned that we must not assume that a West Indian child being educated in this country would think like a British citizen who had been born and developed here. I would complement that by saying that neither will he think like a West Indian born in the West Indies. The duty is incumbent upon us in our educational system to produce a new citizen who will be a really new citizen, but who will have certain inborn talents and aptitudes which can be canalised into the way we do things here. This is a great additional enrichment of our society.

In all I am sure there has been a proper reference by many speakers to the subject which I would call "briefing". Except in times of emergency, when the British are brilliant propagandists, they are curiously inarticulate in telling each other what ought to be done. They assume that you ought to know and that you will be slightly insulted if you are told. In terms of our immigrants this is a very great defect, and the emphasis on briefing, whether in getting houses, in where to go, or in what to do, is an absolutely right one.

That brings me to my last point, and the one that I want to emphasise with special force. I will do this with an instance. Many of your Lordships may have seen—it was some months ago now—a brilliant, sensitive, graphic television programme put on by the B.B.C., about the experiences of young people among the immigrant community: their experiences, their successes, their sufferings. In that film there was a picture of one young man who told the interviewer that he was unhappy at his work, which he found uncongenial; that he did not enjoy playing with his contemporaries, and that in general he was extremely unhappy. It was a brilliant and sensitive piece of portraiture, but the one thing wrong with it was that it came at the end of the film. It was wrong because the party of us who watched that film were left with a feeling not of challenge but of despair. My Lords, this is essentially a position of challenge and not of despair, and we have the right to ask our friends who either own or run or operate the mass media of information to help us all in treating it in a spirit of challenge and not of despair. One does not have to ask them to conceal anything that goes wrong or that is unfair or unjust, but I am sure that they should, as individuals as well as professionals, keep always in mind that this is our great national effort at the moment, and we need them, just as much as we need the teachers and politicians and administrators and others, to help in getting over the message of how to form out of what we have at the moment a happy and harmonious multiracial society.

If I may, I would, as a final suggestion, counsel any of your Lordships, and anyone else who has not had time to read the 800 pages, always to have a look at the end, if at any time you are feeling in any degree discouraged in what we are trying to do. After all, we are trying to do something which practically no other country in the world is trying to do. There are few countries which have a problem like this which they are undertaking so consciously and with so much thought and so much ambition. At the end this very remarkable Report brings out this notion again, that in this country, where we have been able to show the way so much in tolerant yet organised living together, we are now trying to show the way in something new again; namely, that it is possible to have a community in which many races can live together in harmony.

6.53 p.m.


My Lords, I, too, should like to thank my noble friend Lord Walston for having initiated this valuable debate. In view of the large number of speakers I will confine my remarks to the question of colour and employment. I have chosen this aspect because the firm with which my name is associated employs a large number of coloured citizens, and it seems to me that our experience may be of some interest to your Lordships' House.

As is the case with many other firms, our policy is quite simply that colour is as unimportant a factor as race or religion, and that it is in our own interest as a firm to ensure that recruitment policy takes account of nothing but ability and suitability for the job in question. As a result, we now employ nearly 750 coloured citizens from all parts of the Commonwealth: the West Indies, Africa, Pakistan. India and Ceylon. They work in all areas of the business and in various capacities. At our head office they include not only clerks, secretaries and shorthand-typists, but qualified laboratory and accountancy staff, and a canteen manager. A large number also work in our production, processing and distribution depots, as well as in our retail stores. At present only a few of our coloured employees are in supervisory positions. It is basically a result of their lack of experience and educational qualifications. But as training proceeds and the second generation, born and educated in this country, becomes available for employment, the situation will change. In fact we have recently appointed our first coloured trainee manager, who should become an assistant manager in one of our supermarkets in three years' time.

Basically, our experience is that, so far as the existing white workers are concerned, the difficulties of employing coloured citizens are often exaggerated. That is not to deny that initially there are certain problems and a degree of mistrust. But so long as management does not ignore their existence, and formulates its policy on the twin bases of tact and firm adherence to principle, these problems can be overcome. More often than not the initial mistrust is the result of ignorance rather than of prejudice. Once the ice is broken, and the workers of different colour are given an opportunity to work side by side, they tend to realise that what they have in common is far more important than their differences. Thus, the often heard argument,"I would employ coloured labour, but how will the other workers react?", is in my opinion just an empty excuse for doing nothing.

In fact, my Lords, I would go further. Our own and others' experience leads me to believe that people who work with other races and colours tend to be far less prejudiced than those who have never had the opportunity. This means that industry and business have an important role to play, not only in providing economic opportunities for coloured members of our society, but in encouraging integration and removing distrust and some widely held misconceptions. I believe that future race relations in this country will depend largely on the atmosphere in which people of different colour can work together at their place of employment. Factories and businesses up and down the country have shown that, with a little care by management, there can be friendship and mutual respect, and that after a time this often extends to out-of-work activities. We have found, for example, that coloured members of the firm are beginning to participate in the various sporting and social activities, and it is only when we hear of "rivers of blood", "grinning piccaninnies" and "alien wedge" that tension rises and this atmosphere is endangered.

"But our customers would not put up with it" is the other principal argument used to justify a negative approach to the employment of coloured labour. Again, in our experience—and we ought to know, since we probably have over a million regular customers—this is a complete myth. Many of our coloured employees work in full view of the public with food of all kinds, and there is absolutely no evidence that they are regarded with hostility or suspicion. This is not to say that we receive no complaints at all; but, statistically speaking, these are quite insignificant and, with one or two open racialist exceptions, are based on misconceptions which can easily be removed.

We have also had a few examples of open hostility to our coloured shop assistants, and these cases, unfortunately, isolated as these are, can have a serious effect on the morale of coloured workers who, understandably, tend to be sensitive to any sign of prejudice. The result (and this problem has already been highlighted by the recent Runnymede Trust publication, Here to Stay) is that coloured citizens display some reluctance to work in shops where they are brought in direct contact with the public. Again, the problem becomes very much more acute when racial disharmony is created by irresponsible, ignorant, and inflamatory statements. Perhaps it is no accident that one of the places where we have had the greatest difficulty in obtaining the services of coloured citizens for shop work is Wolverhampton.

Thus, my Lords, although the difficulties arising out of the employment of coloured workers can be overcome, successful solution of these problems depends on the pursuit of a positive policy. It is not enough for the board of directors to lay down a policy of nondiscrimination, unless at the same time constant efforts are made to ensure that this policy is fully and sympathetically accepted at all levels within the organisation. It is also necessary to carry out periodic checks to discover whether the policy is being implemented in the spirit in which it was intended.

I conclude by saying that I hope there is nothing in what I have said that will encourage complacency about the employment of coloured citizens. I do not believe that enough is being done, for there is still widespread discrimination in the field of employment. I have only tried to suggest that many of the difficulties can be overcome if the will to overcome them is there. The real challenge is only just beginning. The second generation of coloured Britons, who have been educated in this country, are now leaving school. They will rightly expect equal treatment and equal opportunities at work, and only if we are able to provide these can we look forward to greater racial harmony and the lessening of colour prejudice.

7.5 p.m.


My Lords, the compilers of this Report seem to have been agreeably surprised by the extent of tolerance that they have found in this country; but there is no doubt that the colour problem in this country has worsened considerably in recent years. To my mind the saddest part of this is that it is due, at least in part, to over-enthusiastic but unguarded statements of those who most want to see racial harmony. I should say, after having listened to all the debate so far, that no over-enthusiasm or unguarded statements have been made in this House. People are inclined to say that all racial discrimination is equally wicked and must be stopped, without considering what lies behind it. You cannot stop the effect without first curing, or at least mitigating, the cause. We speak of the colour bar; but it is not as simple as that. The colour problem in this country is not one problem, but three; and until the three problems are recognised as being separate and needing different understanding and different treatment, the situation will continue to worsen.

The first problem is the straight colour bar, when a white man fears, distrusts, dislikes or looks down on a coloured man—or it may be the other way round— purely because of the colour of his skin. There are still people who feel that way. This varies from, in its most extreme form, a phobia, down to a feeling that the other man is intrinsically inferior. Although the man who feels like this probably cannot help it, any more than can those who suffer from any other form of phobia, he can, of course, help his behaviour that results from it; and discrimination based entirely on the fact that a man's skin is a different colour from one's own is rightly condemned. Anyone who shows, or appears to show, any form of discrimination whatever to a coloured man is always accused of doing so because of colour alone. More often than not this accusation is unfair.

More frequent is the second problem, which I would call a colour bar at one remove. A far larger number of people show colour discrimination not because they themselves are prejudiced by colour but because of the reaction, or what they fear might be the reaction, of other people. A white man who objects to a coloured man buying a house in his own street usually does so not because he himself minds living in the same street as a coloured man, but because he is convinced that the value of his property will go down, however wrong he may consider this to be. A man who has no particular colour feeling himself might resent a coloured man being promoted over him because he would feel, perhaps wrongly, that his friends would despise him for taking orders from a coloured man. In the same way, an employer might feel it rash to promote a coloured man because of the reaction of his white employees.

I know of a firm in the Midlands who have a rather more unhappy experience than has the noble Lord, Lord Sainsbury. They had 60 Pakistanis working on a particular night shift. They wanted to put one Englishman on that shift, not because he was English, not because he was white, but because they considered him to be the best man for the job. The Pakistanis did not strike, but the Englishman was isolated, and it became clear that things would not go right on that shift until he was removed. The same firm has had a disastrous experience of employing immigrants of different races together. They cannot employ Jamaicans with Barbadians, or Pakistanis with Indians, because fighting breaks out. Originally, it was fists, but more recently in nearly every case some form of offensive weapon was used. They have now found it necessary to organise their labour force in such a way that there is one coloured man to four whites. In both these cases they have had to show a certain amount of colour discrimination, which was the last thing they wanted to do. They have probably even been in breach of the Race Relations Act. But what was the alternative? In the first case, to stand by and see no work done; in the second, to be responsible for bloodshed.

I have often had to declare an interest to your Lordships in that I own a London shop. I hardly dare mention that after the noble Lord, Lord Sainsbury, has spoken. Some months ago, I advertised for a shop assistant, and one of the applicants was coloured. In fact, I advertised for a full-time woman, and the applicant was a man who wanted to work part-time, so the problem did not arise; but had it been different I would have been faced with the possibility that if I did not discriminate my customers might have done, and I would therefore have lost trade.

Into this category, too, comes that most hackneyed cliché of the colour bar, "Some of my best friends are coloured, but I would not want my daughter to marry one". This has become a joke, perhaps a joke in very poor taste, but if most men were honest they might feel that they came rather into this category. The problem is not a man's own reaction to a mixed marriage, but the attitude of his friends and the prospect of his grandchildren suffering through being children of a mixed marriage. A relation of mine, not in this country, is living happily, though unmarried, with a black extremist. It is considered all right for him to have a white mistress, but he would lose caste among his colleagues if he had a white wife. This kind of colour discrimination is harder to condemn, because the man you would be condemning is not the initiator of the discrimination: he is merely trying to avoid its effects.

The third and by far the most common type of colour bar is not in fact a colour bar at all, but a behaviour bar. Coloured immigrants have a reputation, very firmly embedded, of having a way of life that is alien to people born in this country—such things as multiple occupancy of houses: living in conditions that would be looked upon here as squalor; being noisy at late hours; cooking and eating habits; and general disregard for the amenities of neighbours. Now it may be that, because a man is coloured, people will unjustly attribute certain forms of behaviour to him, but it is the behaviour they object to and not the colour, and they would and do object just as much to similar behaviour from white men. Many of the keenest advocates of a multiracial society refuse to discriminate between these different causes of racial discrimination, or indeed to recognise that there are different forms at all. This not only prevents them from trying to cure the problems at source, but also makes them label as a racialist anyone who tries to find a solution.

There are very real dangers in accusing people of colour prejudice or racialism where none exists. I all too frequently disagree with the political views of my right honourable friend Mr.Enoch Powell, but he has only to talk of this problem to be condemned whatever he says. He made one suggestion, for instance, which my noble friend Lord Brooke has commented on, that coloured immigrants who were discontented should have their fares paid back to their country of origin. If that suggestion had been made by anyone else, it might have been considered on its merits, which are considerable. Not only would those who are quite unable to integrate and settle down here, and who can only be a disrupting influence on their fellow immigrants, be able to leave should they want to do so, but also those who really want to stay would psychologically have a very much better chance of settling down if they knew that they had the means to return to their countries as a last resort if they failed. But because this suggestion was made by Mr.Powell it has not been considered on its merits, which is a pity. Also, that particluar solution has been labelled as racialist and, therefore, whoever might suggest it in the future, it is tainted.

Moreover, to condemn something as racialist when it is not can only worsen the colour situation. It is human nature to be only too ready to believe that something is to your own disadvantage; and if immigrants are told that Mr.Powell has made "another racialist speech", they will believe it, which can only impair racial harmony unnecessarily. But perhaps the worst aspect of condemning some speech or action as racialist when it is not is that it is inclined to harden those who are not in fact racialists into being so. When my noble friend Lord Brooke spoke the other day on the Expiring Laws Bill he was so goaded by noble Lords opposite that he eventually said something on the lines, "If that is being a racialist, then in this sense I am a racialist, and proud of it". Your Lordships know my noble friend well enough to know that his intellect and integrity are above such things but there are people who, if they are told they are racialists often enough, will in fact become so. And that is what has been happening in this country over the past few years.

As my noble friend said then, there are very real fears behind the colour problem, and these must be resolved. We, of all nations, should realise from our history that immigrant minorities can add to our culture. But you can only add to the life of a community if you are prepared to join in with it, as a fully paid-up member, and conform to the majority in most things. This means not being a self-contained community of their own, keeping the entire way of life, customs and traditions of their country of origin, as most coloured immigrants seem to want. And it is this, and not colour, that accounts for the different attitude that is shown to coloured, as against white, immigrants—because those who live in areas where there is a large coloured immigrant minority are afraid. This is not a fear of colour, nor even of race, but a fear that in their particular area the minority will become the majority and that they will have to conform to, or at least live surrounded by, a behaviour pattern, not necessarily inferior, but different from their own.

So if you really want to achieve integration and racial harmony, you must not condemn out of hand what appears to be racial discrimination. You must examine not the prejudice but the fears that lie behind it. It is not enough to show compassion and understanding to one side alone. If those fears are justified, they must be put right: if they are not justified, they must be allayed. Having done that, by all means condemn unfair discrimination, provided that you are sure that it is discrimination and provided that you are sure that it is unfair.

7.17 p.m.


My Lords, I, too, am very grateful to my noble friend Lord Walston for initiating this debate, since it has not only a domestic significance but an international one; because we are not the only country, as we know from the Kenya-Asian debate, which has race discrimination. My Lords, it looks as if the Hansard Report of this debate will be as long as the book we are discussing, which is 800 pages. It is a very good book, packed with information and surprisingly readable. The title, Colour and Citizenship, plunges right to the heart of the matter, because the Report examines race relations in the setting of known facts, analysing and judging them without bias or wishful thinking. Perhaps the chapter on the prevalence of racial prejudice in this country slightly underrates the degree of prejudice that in fact exists. The book, however, is a blue-print for the next ten years, and it not only answers many questions but ends with 80 recommendations addressed to the Government. So much for what the noble Lord, Lord Brooke, would call, or might call, "unrealistic liberalism".

My Lords, I suppose that we are all bundles of prejudice, but ignorance of the facts about immigrants breeds a variety of half-truths and myths, and this book exposes and dispels many of them. People too readily believe that immigrants are a severe strain on the social services, that the strain is all on our side and the benefits all on theirs. It has been repeated here this afternoon (I believe the noble Lord, Lord Brooke, said this) that the Health Service is one picked out for this grumble, in spite of the fact that it is general knowledge that it is staffed by many immigrant doctors and nurses. In his speech on the Second Reading recently of the Expiring Laws Bill the noble Lord, Lord Brooke, shed a tear for those immigrant doctors who are helping us though they are so badly needed in their own countries. I did not notice that he wagged a disapproving finger at the United States or at Canada for seducing our own doctors, who are so badly needed here.

The noble Lord must know that there is little harm in the brain-drain so long as it goes round and round. If anything, there is less reason to demand a high moral posture from doctors in poor developing countries, while not condemning our own doctors for migrating. Yet the noble Lord suggested, I think, that immigrant doctors should have a limited stay here; should not necessarily become citizens of this country. Altogether, we apply different standards when examining the behaviour and conditions of immigrants than when examining those of our own people. In most societies, advanced or developing, the race (I mean "race" in a sports sense) is always between economic and social progress; and the book underlines the truth of this, quite apart from the problems of immigration.

My Lords, immigration, to-day and in the future, is not just a domestic problem for us, or for any other West European country. It will increasingly become an international phenomenon as we advance technologically. For ourselves, immigration cannot begin to be discussed outside its historical origins. Who can begin to discuss race relations without referring to the dissolution of the British Empire or to our disillusion with the British Commonwealth? Colour and Citizenship gives a devastating exposure of the laissez-faire policies of successive Governments—and here I am not speaking just of the control of the number of immigrants entering this country: I am speaking of the account in this book of the way the Foreign Office and the Ministry of Labour not only encouraged but recruited immigrant workers for many years—a fact which the book makes very clear and which was, I must confess, new to me.

So that when the noble Lord, Lord Brooke, or other noble Lords, speak of the way the British people were not told about the immigrants who were coming, or why they were coming here, surely it is entirely their own fault. There was one thing these noble Lords could have told the British people: that when the immigrants came here it was the British standard of living that was being improved. Even that one statement would have clarified a great many of the misunderstandings. The book also gives evidence that political doomsday warnings about future numbers, and panic measures to restrict entry—statements of that kind—served only to increase the number of immigrants who came in. In fact, the rate of immigration compares almost exactly with the number of jobs that there are to fill.

I should now like, my Lords, to say a word, very briefly, on the education chapter before I come back, also briefly, to the political issues. I will try not to repeat what has already been said. It seems that just at this point, when the admission of dependants is tailing off, language teaching, which anyone could have judged to be the primary problem, is well under way. One can foresee the end of this problem. The credit is due to such people as June Derrick, in Leeds, and her team, people who put their minds to the problem, and made a professional effort to cope with it. Those with less open minds could only envisage a solution in terms of dispersal. It is understandable that non-English-speaking children would hold up the school. What was needed was an effort on a national scale with initial special training in language teaching.

This non-professional approach was especially hard, as has been stated, on West Indian children, because they spoke English, though their Creole dialects, different vocabulary and grammatical form made it difficult for them to follow the teacher. They appeared backward and were placed in remedial classes without proper evidence of their ability. The pronouncement of the headmaster of a public school, who said that the innate ability of West Indian children was not up to that of British children, was actually disproved when tests were made. It was obvious that this stigmatisation of West Indian children was due to their deprived backgrounds. An essay by a 10-year-old West Indian girl is eloquent of this. It read: "My mother has three children. We live in one room. My Mum works nights. My Dad works days." It is obvious that education and housing are the web and woof of social welfare; and improved housing, as has been said so often here, as well as nursery schools for working mothers, would give us a truer assessment of the abilities of both immigrant and British children. But it is when we come to the school-leavers that we meet another wave of discrimination. It is here that hostile political speeches have such a bad effect on morale. Youth employment agencies also do not help when they declare that West Indian school-leavers are too ambitious. Perhaps the fact is, my Lords, that British children are not ambitious enough.

The recommendations in the education chapter are modest and common sense, and would not involve vast expenditure. It has been the case that, with language teaching, what teachers have learnt has been of immense benefit to British children. The truth is that a necessary precondition for good race relations is a general social and economic strategy for curing poverty and deprivation. All the recent Government Reports, such as the Cullingworth, Milner Holland, Seebohm and Plowden Reports, give guide-lines on which the Government should act. It is up to the Government to implement their recommendations.

The Conservatives have at no point put forward any strategy for dealing with minorities, other than restriction of the numbers, a detergent appeal to "keep Britain white", or the utterly bankrupt suggestion of repatriation. Here I must once again return to the speech of the noble Lord, Lord Brooke, on November 25. The noble Lord is a very distinguished man, who has had a distinguished career in politics, and it is perhaps because of this that I am sad that he aligned himself so closely with another speech by Mr.Enoch Powell in the other place. The noble Lord reminded us that in 1966 he made a speech in this House about the numbers of coloured people we might have in this country in 50 years' time, numbers which apparently topped the figures given by Mr.Enoch Powell. The noble Lord seemed peeved that his own speech did not cause a Stir, whereas the other caused an uproar. Personally, I prefer the more sober style of the noble Lord's speech, though I disagreed with its content.


My Lords, will the noble Baroness give way? I was not seeking on that occasion to express any emotional feelings about what happened. I was simply drawing the conclusion that if a person was to get Press publicity for what he said on this subject he had to phrase his thoughts in lurid terms. That seems an unfortunate thing. I am sure it is far better if we discuss these matters soberly without "rivers of blood" flowing.


My Lords, I absolutely agree with the noble Lord, and I was going on to say so. But I thought the noble Lord himself had one very small lapse into slightly lurid language when he spoke about the trouble about colour. He said that "the trouble about colour is that it forces itself on the eyesight", as if recognition were in the nature of an assault. But I sympathise with the noble Lord. It seems that in order to make the dockers listen you have to be an ex-professor of Greek; and although the River Thames flows right past the Palace of Westminster, it is the River Tiber which springs to your lips—foaming with "You know what…" as the Schweppes advertisement says.

As for the noble Lord's statement that Britain is likely to make her best contribution to the world if she continues to be a nation of predominantly Anglo-Saxon stock, all I can say is: I wonder what the noble Lord has in mind. Is he thinking of the economic contribution, or the technological, or the spiritual? Does he think that South Africa to-day is making her best contribution to the world by her desperate stand on apartheid? When one thinks of the population explosion, the poverty, the nuclear bomb, such statements really shrink into absurdity.

My Lords, finally I should like to read a passage from the speech that my husband made on the Commonwealth Immigrants Bill of November, 1961, because what he said is as relevant to-day as it was then: It is no part of our case to pretend that any amount of immigration of people of different colour and social customs and language does not present problems—though I urge that we should beware of exaggerations here. Do the Government deal with it by seeking to combat social evils, by building more houses and enforcing laws against overcrowding, by using every educational [means at their disposal to create tolerance and mutual understanding, and by emphasising to our own people the value of these immigrants, and setting their face against all forms of racial intolerance and discrimination? It is fair to say that the whole future of the world will probably depend upon whether people of different colours can live in harmony with each other. My Lords, that is the end of quotation.

7.33 p.m.


My Lords, like other speakers, I want to thank my noble friend Lord Walston for having initiated this debate and also those who produced the publication, Colour and Citizenship, that we are discussing. I have to declare a modified interest in that I am a member of the Community Relations Commission. I am not speaking tonight as a member of that Commission, although I have listened with intense interest, and I hope that we shall get the backing of the Front Bench for the kind of thing the Commission wants to do and which the Government want us to do. I am also extremely grateful to the noble Lord opposite, Lord Gridley, for alleging that my friends the scientists were responsible for the situation with which we are confronted today. I think I would accept that impeachment. It is true that what has happened, what we see happening now, is due to the fact that science and technology has so shrunk the world that it is now a neighbourhood, a neighbourhood in which at least 3,600 million people are trying to contrive to live—and we shall have at least twice that number by the turn of the century.

These figures make the kind of figures that Lord Brooke produced in terms of multiplication here seem trivial. The world is a neighbourhood. It reminds us, and it should remind us, of Kipling's Debits and Credits which I may have quoted before in your Lordships' House but which, anyway, is worth quoting again: Father and mother and me, Sister and Auntie say All good people like us are We And everyone else is They. They live over the sea While We live over the way But would you believe it They look upon We As another kind of They. The trouble is that They no longer live over the sea but over the way. This is what we are really discussing. This is the problem tonight: that They are living over the way.

Some of us, including the noble Lord. Lord Gridley, have travelled the world and seen the circumstances in which those whom we now call coloured people live. I do not know why we should call them coloured. I have a curious colour myself when I look in the mirror in the morning; and it changes each morning, but that is another matter. It is rather strange that we should treat them as "coloured", when in their own habitat—as we might call it in the para-zoological terms we use when we talk of them—they seem to be the kind of people we want to encourage. The difficulty arises only when they step out of place and out of geography. This raises the kind of problems that are reviewed in Colour and Citizenship. It is just that they are out of place.

This seems to be a strange way of looking at them in a world in which everything seems more and more conspicuously to be out of place. I do not know of anything which is standing still: I do not know of any place where we could possibly conceive a static situation in which people are not on the move, in which we are not having to accommodate ourselves to every kind of adjustment and change in our outlook to the people we need (and I emphasise the words "we need ", taking up the point made by my noble friend Lady Gaitskell) for our own selfish interests. The fact is that we are still dependent on the people who were our colonial people; only now we bring them into our own midst in order to emphasise our needs. This situation, which is what we are looking at to-day, is one that was inescapable. It is, I think, a most conspicuous example of Britain's tryst with destiny.

This was, and is, Britain's tryst with destiny. We have given up our Empire and Commonwealth and we now have another commitment, a commitment which still carries in the minds and attitudes of most of us this onus and responsibility for those whom we once considered as subjects of our Comonwealth. What we are looking for are answers in which we can find an accommodation within a phrase which has not been as strongly underlined in this House to-day as it should have been. The phrase is "the multi-racial society"—which is what Britain is inescapably going to become. I do not know why we have run away from those words, or why we treat them almost as nasty or naughty words. For it is true that we always have been—I say this with all deference to the noble Lord, Lord Brooke—a multiracial society.

During a previous discussion in your Lordships' House, I said that I came within Lord Brooke's definition of an immigrant. I said that I had that great distinction, since as a Celt I was not an Anglo-Saxon. I have an even greater claim to participate to-day; because I have in my origin an Aryan-Dravidian great-grandmother. She was a true Romany, a genuine Aryan-Dravidian (via Egypt, or what-have-you), and she was left on the doorstep of a cottage in Angus, in Scotland. The Scottish fanny brought her up and a son married her. That probably explains why I have travelled something like 2½ million miles in a very gipsy-like way, but really to find out what in fact is the truth of this relationship that we now have to establish in a shrunken world.

I would emphasise the question of education on which my noble friend Lady Gaitskell has touched. And I mean education not merely in the sense of how we teach the children in school; or even how we train them in the aptitudes which we want to cultivate for our own economic advantage, not only to persuade the next generation to be part of an English-thinking society—I do not mean merely an English-speaking society—but something much more. What I want to raise is something that I feel we have not fully discussed to-day; that is, the education for a multiracial society on the part of the people who are not immigrants. We have not tackled this problem. We talk about it in propaganda terms. I suppose it is part of the functions of the Community Relations Commission to help to remove, in mass communications terms, some of the misconceptions. But it is much more than that. We have to introduce in the society which is going to absorb the immigrants, and absorb the second generation—which is now a British generation—an understanding of what is the basis of a multiracial society. Apart from anything which the Government will set upon the Community Relations Commission in this business of producing a multiracial community, I hope that in our whole educational system, in the new Education Act and so on, we shall fully and emphatically tackle this problem of Britain as a multiracial society. My Lords, I do not believe there will be a sound basis for the future understanding of this problem until built into one's own thinking are the kinds of things which must be accepted and recognised in the changing society for which we are trying to work.

7.42 p.m.


My Lords, with other noble Lords, I would thank Lord Walston for introducing an extremely important debate. I have never spoken in your Lordships' House without writing out everything in full. The last time I spoke the late noble Baroness, Lady Horsbrugh, gave me an "awful raspberry" for my having read my speech. This time I have written down a few headings. If it is a fiasco I shall go back to reading it out—or never speak again. I would first thank the authors of the Report for its extreme thoroughness. There are 814 pages—in very clear print, which I do not think noble Lords have mentioned. Most Reports are in the sort of print for which one has to use a magnifying glass. The publishers and printers should be congratulated on this important aspect.

I would comment on the police figures given in the Report. It is said that in 1967, 756 cases were substantiated against the police. I find that hard to bear. I should like the noble Lady, when she answers, to say how these figures came about. In any contact I have had with the police I have always found them to be extremely courteous, and for them to show that amount of discrimination seems quite unlike them.

The main point of my speech is a call for harmonious integration. Integration in Colour and Citizenship was given three terms. When talking about colour and race relations to people, one finds they sometimes say, "I do not talk about it. It is a very difficult subject. It is very tricky. It can be unpleasant". There is a great deal of hypocrisy and humbug about it, but basically we are talking about human problems and human relations. People are all human. It would be so much better for the community if we talked about the subject much more frankly. We have gone a long way since the early 1950s, the time of the early immigration. We must bring cut the aspects of friendliness and frankness.

I dislike the strong political groups which demonstrate when nasty things are said about immigrants. A good deal has been said by my honourable friend the Member for Wolverhampton, Mr. Enoch Powell, about immigrants going home. He does not mean anything unpleasant by asking them to go home, if they want to. That brings one on to the point of the British working man. I am glad to see in the Report that only 10 per cent. are very much prejudiced; that is, 10 per cent. prejudiced in the two census areas of London and Wolverhampton. It was also said that there was much less prejudice where there were a great many coloured people than in many other areas where there were fewer immigrants.

My noble friend, Lord Brooke of Cumnor, has mentioned "Anglo-Saxon stock". I am sorry he is not here to answer this point. I did not write him a letter; I should have done. When one looks back in the history of our country, one finds that there was the Paleolithic Age, then the Mezolithic Age and the Neolithic Age. There was then the first invasion of the Bronze Age people, the Celts, who came from somewhere in central Europe; then the Beaker folk and then the Iron Age—Iron Age A, the Marnian, and Iron Age B, the Hallstatt—and, finally, the Romans. Only in the year 400 A.D. do you find Saxons. then the Vikings and then the Saxons again. We have a mixture of stock in this country. We are probably unique in Europe and probably have more integration than any other country. In this respect, therefore, we should perhaps be more welcoming.

When it comes to employment—employment so far as coloured immigrants are concerned— one has to admit that they have been invaluable in our hospitals and also in transport. For six years I worked in connection with transport in Brighton—a town where there are relatively few coloured immigrants. We had one West Indian driver who from the start got on extremely well with everybody. That has a bearing on the Report's comments on dispersal. That town, among many others, could have absorbed a far greater immigrant population than it has. There was only one bad case of racial discrimination. A gentleman from a foreign country, which I will not mention, had to change over with an Indian. When he took over his bus he put on gloves, took a duster and polished the handrails and the bells. Everybody thought that that was absolutely disgusting and would have been a case for the Race Relations Board. Everyone was far more sympathetic with the Indian conductor than with the other gentleman, whose services were later dispensed with. But it shows that people in this country take other people very much on face value.

The noble Lord, Lord Shepherd, mentioned employment, housing and education. I should like to take the sequence as employment, education and housing. The noble Lord said that the noble Baroness, Lady Scrota, would take education last. The present coloured migrants have taken lowly employment, but they are always very proud when their children take advantage of our educational facilities and opportunities for further education: woodworking classes, craft classes, language classes, local government or anything of that kind. The noble Lord, Lord Walston, mentioned two cases in respect of housing which is the last point with which I should like to deal. When people come here and require accommodation they must realise that they have to see the local authorities; and the authorities should make it their business to set the emigrants on the right path. It is necessary to have a residential qualification in order to secure a house. In the borough where I live a three-year residential qualification is necesssary. One knows of cases where people who have been living in a back-basement room under unpleasant conditions, and who may have three or four children, are found a council house fairly quickly in rather unpleasant areas.

There should be more public relations with coloured emigrants to indicate to them where there are places to live. There are parts of the country—I am thinking of the North East of England—where the rents for houses amount to £6 or £7 a week, but there is relatively little employment. It depends on where your priorities lie. If your priority is to get a roof over your head and look after your family, and then try to get into the "big money", that, I should have thought, is better than getting into the "big money" first but living in squalid surroundings. The Race Relations Board could consider jobs in agriculture in which there are vacancies, because it is hard to get agricultural employees. Workers in agriculture get good cottages in which to live. Unfortunately the wages are low, but it is possible to live on them. Social conditions are reasonable although there would be no night club life. That is not essential. A visit to the local public house or a visit once a year to the local theatre would compensate for that. If you have a cottage or a house in which to live, I do not think it would be a bad life.

My Lords, before I give way to the noble Lord, Lord Brockway, who has perhaps more experience than anybody else in these matters, may I say that we must all try to treat the immigrant with friendliness, and he should treat us with friendliness. In areas where they are dispersed the immigrants treat us with friendliness, but when they get into large groups they may get sullen, possibly with good reason. But perhaps the immigrant will look at our problems, as we can look at his, with understanding. We can get to like his living here, and look forward to his descendants becoming members of a multiracial society.

7.55 p.m.


My Lords, I listened with great interest and appreciation to the speech of the noble Lord, Lord Teviot, and I shall comment on two of the contributions he made, but the noble Lord will forgive me if I do not go into more detail; it is not because of any absence of appreciation. I hope that in what I am going to say I shall make some suggestions which have not already been made. I admit that that will be difficult, as I am the seventeenth speaker in this debate. I acknowledge that I shall begin by saying something which nearly every other speaker has said already, and that is to express appreciation to my noble friend Lord Walston for having initiated this debate. When I saw his name down for this debate I remembered something which may not be in the mind of every noble Lord: that is, that it was seven years ago when the noble Lord, Lord Walston, introduced a Race Relations Bill into your Lordships' House. It was similar to proposals which, more than once, I had put forward in another place. On that occasion your Lordships' House rejected the Bill. The noble Lord, Lord Walston, will now find some satisfaction in contemplating the completely different tone adopted by speaker after speaker in the debate to-day compared to that of six or seven years ago. The noble Lord will find still greater satisfaction in the fact that the Bill which he pioneered was largely the basis of the Race Relations Act which is now on the Statute Book. We have therefore to thank the noble Lord, Lord Walston, not only on initiating this debate but on being one of the pioneers for better race relations in our land.

I think that the noble Lord will feel particular satisfaction because it is almost generally recognised that the Race Relations Act has been a success. Its provisions were opposed for years, particularly by noble Lords opposite, but I doubt whether there is anyone in our country to-day with knowledge of the subject who would not recognise that the Race Relations Act has contributed greatly to racial harmony in Britain and to a decrease in the extent of discrimination. It is extraordinary how, in industry after industry, the principles of the Act are now being applied. That it is an offence to discriminate on the ground of race is accepted, and the impression, the impact, which the Act has made is starting a new era in race relations.

My Lords, there have been some silly newspaper paragraphs in recent weeks ridiculing certain points which have been brought before the Race Relations Board. In respect of such legislation it is almost inevitable that there should be little incidental eccentricities. I would say to the Government Front Bench that I hope they will give the Race Relations Board discretion in these matters and that it will not be automatic for the Board to have to proceed when complaints of this sort are made. This evening I am, on the whole, optimistic. I am optimistic because, as recorded in the volume which we are discussing, 73 per cent. of the population of Britain is tolerantly inclined. I am particularly optimistic because it is almost entirely the attitude of the youth of to-day; and (this is a platitude) the youth of to-day is Britain to-morrow. It is not only the attitude of our students at the universities, it is also the attitude of youth in all circles of our life and in all activities. Overwhelmingly they reject the narrow feelings of the older generation. This is why I am optimistic about the future.

Then we have this extraordinary contradiction. Almost exactly the same percentage of our population which is returned as tolerantly inclined, support the propaganda of Mr. Enoch Powell. I have to try to find the reason for what seemingly are two opposing views. I think that the reason for the support of the doctrines of the honourable Member for Wolverhampton, West are two. First, there is a very deep sentiment among our population in favour of keeping Britain white.

I regret that the noble Lord, Lord Brooke of Cumnor, is not in the House at the moment, because I want to make reference to his speech. He has not used, and probably would not use, the phrase, "Keep Britain White", but his argument was in favour of that principle. He said, as the noble Lord, Lord Teviot, has reminded us, that he wished to keep Britain Anglo-Saxon. I share the view of the noble Lord that the term "Anglo-Saxon" is completely unreal. If I look at my own ancestry, I find that my mother came from a family descended from the Normans, who came here from France. My grandmother's name was Fenner and this indicates a Saxon origin, and the Saxons came from Germany. My father, with the name Brockway, came from origins in Wessex. Another grandmother—and this may explain something of my character—was a Kelly and came from Ireland. I was born in India; my father was born in Africa. What the dickens I am I do not know, except that I cannot possibly say that I belong to that narrow group to which the noble Lord, Lord Brooke of Cumnor, referred.

What the noble Lord said was that he wishes to keep this country with a stock which comes from Europe, and he urged this on the ground of pride in our way of life. Is there any doubt at all that behind that attitude there is a colour prejudice, an opposition to people because they are not white? If the noble Lord would begin to think about it, he would appreciate that West Indians have more proximity to our way of life than many white populations on the Continent of Europe. They speak English and have been brought up in an English atmosphere. For years they have been developing on the English pattern. They are far more English than the Latins of Europe or many peoples from Eastern Europe. And the real reason—I am not saying this in personal criticism, but because I think it deeply reflects a view that is widely held—why the noble Lord would prefer Europeans to come to this country rather than West Indians or those who are brown or yellow is because of the pigment of their skin.

I agree that colour is still the great cause of prejudice, but there is this other factor. As the Report which we are discussing has indicated, racial prejudice is less in those very areas where coloured immigrants live and where white people have become accustomed to living with them. I do not believe that this was always true. It was not true in Slough, when I was a Member of Parliament there and where that kind of prejudice defeated me as a candidate. But it is true to-day that people who are living in neighbourhoods where there are nonwhite immigrants are those who are most tolerant and prepared to live in racial harmony. In addition to what is said in the Report, we have had the speech today of my noble friend Lord Sainsbury, who, from his wide experience in his own business, has indicated the same fact. Where white people work over a period side by side with non-white people, they become most tolerant and develop the greatest harmony. These facts are a hope for the future.

I am going to be brief about the second reason why I think a large proportion of our population is favourable to the views of Mr. Enoch Powell, because other speakers have emphasised this point. I believe that the second reason is our failure in the sphere of social security—our failure with housing. our failure with hospitals, our failure with schools, our failure with employment. In those spheres where we have failed, the non-white immigrants are made the scapegoats of our failures.

As there has been so much emphasis in this debate upon housing, education and employment, I do not propose to discuss those matters in detail. I would only say this to my noble friend Lord Walston—and it bears out what was said by a noble Lord on the Benches opposite, although at the moment I cannot recollect who it was who said it. This desperate condition of housing is not only a condition of immigrants. The description given by the noble Lord of immigrants' homes of one room, with parents and five children living there, I could have given in regard to white families in Slough when I was the Member for that place. While conditions may be better there now, I have not the least doubt that in Glasgow and Liverpool the conditions which the noble Lord described for the non-white immigrants could be repeated for white families. We have to be careful that we do not ask for privileges in relation to housing or in any other sphere. There should, of course, be allocation by need.

I come now to another point which was mentioned by the noble Lord, Lord Teviot; that is, the points system in so many of our urban areas which is based on residence. Accumulation of distress owing to bad conditions can become just as outrageous as a worse distress which has been experienced for a short time. Therefore, I am inclined to think that our local authorities are quite correct, when deciding upon need, to take into account the period during which that need has existed. My only appeal would be this. There are many contradictions between one local authority and another—a person may work in one place and not be able to get a house there; or he may have to work there and live in another area yet be unable also to get on the housing list there. We ought to have wider principles on this matter.

The only other thing I want to say about housing is in regard to New Towns. I believe that they present a tremendous opportunity. I should like to see those responsible for the corporations of our New Towns saying publicly that there will be no discrimination in the New Towns which they establish. I should like to see this brought to the attention of our immigrant communities, and the fact made clear that jobs and houses are available. It is by this kind of method that the problems of dispersal should be met.

I hope your Lordships will forgive me for continuing this speech, but I should like to add this point about education. I agree with all the proposals that have been made. I should like Her Majesty's Government to consider whether they cannot give support to the kind of experiment which has recently been carried out at Southall, where a young Cambridge student took the initiative and gathered around him Indian residents with a knowledge of the English language. There they have been teaching the young Pakistani children and others, even before they go to school, so that they may be aware of the English language. That experiment has been a success, and I know that there have been other experiments in other parts of the country. I should like to see the Government giving help to that experiment even at the cost of some monetary contribution.

On the question of employment, I will limit myself to one of many suggestions that I have in my notes. Our Government (and I would ask my noble friend Lady Serota, who is to answer the debate, to face up to this challenge) cannot remain, in principle, in moral conscience, against racial discrimination if they do not include in Government contracts a condition that no firm which carries out racial discrimination shall have a Government contract. There should be a clause in every Government contract just as firm as that of the fair wages clause.

I conclude, my Lords, by saying this. I believe that Britain has an opportunity to solve this problem as no other country has; and, ironically, it is due to an historical circumstance which might seem exactly the opposite to recent knowledge. It is due to the fact that we had the greatest Empire; that we spread our imperialism all over the world, and in that imperialism dominated other races. In that policy we pursued economic plans which meant that those territories provided us with food and raw materials and had economists serving our interests. The result was that the peoples of those territories became wretchedly poor, and their poverty has driven them to come here. So we now have the non-white population in Britain. When I say that I believe this gives us the greatest opportunity of solving this problem, I mean it in this way. Those territories are now independent and are beginning to build their different economies. In place of imperialism we developed the idea of Commonwealth and racial equality, and we are within an atmosphere now where the new relationship can be built. My appeal to the Government to-night is that in all aspects of their policy they will seek to apply not only the recommendations, but the spirit and principle which is in the Report that we have been discussing to-day.

8.19 p.m.


My Lords, it is a great pleasure to me to be the eighteenth sponsor at the Parliamentary christening of Colour and Citizenship, which, as many of your Lordships will know, is a lively 2¼pounder. I hope that the noble Baroness, Lady Scrota, will be able to act as fairy godmother. I intend to talk about the second generation, and in that way partly to follow the noble Lord, Lord Brockway. I want to talk about the coloured citizens of this country who have been brought up here. My Lords, for a minute or two try to get inside the head of one of these schoolchildren or school-leavers—and I say this particularly to the noble Lord, Lord Denham. How would you feel if you were black and British? At home there is a different system of values and behaviour from that of your classmates at school, let alone differences of religion, food or culture. How would you feel if you were a black teenager and walked down that street near my home in Fulham, where in great letters is written up: Enoch's all right, so keep Britain white"? Would you believe that most English people were tolerant? How would you feel in your first job when someone started telling you the jokes or made hearty comments about cat food? How would you feel when you heard prominent persons suggesting your repatriation to a country you had never seen?

I am not just a bleeding heart pulling out the sob-stuff. I am not asking for coloured teenagers, or coloured anybody else, to be especially privileged. What concerns me is this. Pious hopes are often expressed about the second generation, in whose hearts and hands the struggle of race relations will be won. We must give that second generation a chance. What has happened to the coloured people of Bute Town, in Cardiff? That area has been coloured since the First World War. They still live tightly in that area. Not a single coloured inhabitant of Bute Town has reached the university. Most important—and I quote from Colour and Citizenship: They have to a large extent absorbed the values of the host society, but they live in neither an alien nor a local culture. So, my Lords, pious hopes are not enough.

Nor can we, like some well known politicians, pass by on the other side and tell the second generation to go home. "Home" is Bradford or Southall. However, it is absurd to lump all the second generation together. Ethnic groups will vary in their reactions to this country. Each locality has its own peculiarities. And again these coloured young people will question British society as much as any other young people do, before they commit themselves to it or separate themselves from it. The second generation may not identify themselves fully with Trinidad or Barbados, but they have not yet become British.

What is to be done? Of course, their environment is important. We must deal with the centre of our cities before the coupling of colour and squalor becomes embedded in the mud, as it has done in so many other areas of the world. A good many speeches have been on the subject of housing, and I would endorse everything that has been said on this matter. I should like particularly to touch on the youth employment service. The youth employment service must be strengthened to help the coloured school-leaver, with his special problems. I ask the noble Baroness who is to reply whether the Government look favourably on the relevant proposals in Colour and Citizenship and in the Report of the Select Committee on Race Relations and Immigration. It is also important that immigrant parents should be helped to appreciate what the schools do. I look forward to hearing what the noble Baroness has to say about this. I should also like to know why the Department of Education and Science is so feeble and will not give a lead in encouraging teacher-training colleges, and the like, to face the need for training in this field. Let us put the pious hopes into practice.

My Lords, I should now like to make some more general observations. It is largely true to say that the Conservative Party thinks it is talking about race relations when in fact it is talking only about immigration. For example, to-day we had the speech of the noble Lord. Lord Brooke of Cumnor, who I am sorry to see is not in his place. I feel that his speech was like a soufflé—appetising at first but insubstantial. What major constructive proposals did he enumerate, or even enunciate? None. It is easy for him to dismiss Mr. Powell. Mr. Powell, the happy heretic, tours the country exhibiting the convolutions of his conscience, playing the part of the only honest man, the only one who knows. At other moments he is the messianic seer, the saviour of the country, the only one who can lead. Both these roles imply one thing: Powell, dens ex machinâ to Downing Street. But Mr. Powell must be dismissed by the Conservative Party in more than words. We all look forward to the speech of the noble Lord, Lord Sandford, which should contain the particular policies the Conservative Party will pursue if they return to power, with the particular emphasis on Commonwealth participation which was called for by the noble Lord, Lord Gridley.

I should like also to say something about the Labour Government. No doubt I shall be called ungrateful, as I have been previously on this subject, when I say that the Labour Party pretends to talk about race relations when in fact it usually talks about immigration. In another place, a Minister at the Home Office actually had to ask Mr. Powell for the source of the figures the latter was using. They all came from the Ministry of Social Security. How can you expect leadership from this Administration when, on a matter of great Party political and public interest, one Ministry supplies the principal opponent of the Government with ammunition about which the Minister who is to reply knew nothing? Is there real, urgent concern in this Government?

The noble Lord, Lord Shepherd, in a supercharged speech, produced evidence of contrasting tendencies. But, my Lords, this is the Government that devalued the British passport—that is, if you happen to be a Kenya-Asian. It is not enough to list ameliorative measures, for which we are all grateful. Listen to the noble Lord, Lord Soper! From him we had a sensible, beautifully articulated, idealistic, knowledgeable and hopeful speech. It is no use the Government's expecting the country to feel reassured that the situation is under control, when there is virtually consensus government on immigration—which is not made clear—and when we have never had, except from Lord Soper, lucid, calm but confident speeches that would give evidence of real leadership.

My Lords, Section 11 of the 1965 Housing Act is not news. The Government must have the moral courage to proclaim the true figures about immigration in a way that gets into every home. They must demonstrate that, without favouring the coloured citizens, social distress is burned into the Government's list of priorities. In both these ways, the confidence and the chances of happy race relations which have been so undermined could be restored.

Your Lordships may think that I have spoken as a prophet of doom. I do not think that racial harmony is "pie in the sky". The overwhelming mass of the people in this country are not bigots. And those who are young—white or black—will, in the views they absorb now, reflect the climate of hopefulness or despair that is engendered by the actions of Governments and by debates like this. As the right reverend Primate the Archbishop of Canterbury indicated, it is not only the "Wog-bashers" who are stirring. Racial prejudice among people of about my age is, I am sure, on the wane, so there is ample ground for hope. So I say to the politicians: step forward; stand up and be counted, because if the politicians give a lead, the silent majority, even the vocal minority on the Cross-Benches who are tolerant, or tolerantly-inclined, white or black, first or second generation, will tap their resources of willingness and idealism, and join in; and then we shall win.

8.29 p.m.


My Lords, in common with others who have already spoken, I should like to pay tribute to the noble Lord, Lord Walston, for initiating this debate to-day, thereby drawing our attention to the Institute of Race Relations book, Colour and Citizenship. It is a truly remarkable work, and great credit is due to Mr. E. J. B. Rose, who, over a period of five years, in association with Nicholas Deakin and an able team of seven research writers, worked with great thought while tabulating a mass of information which I suggest will prove to be a shining guideline for the next ten years of British race relations.

In this great work we find unprecedented thought which calls a halt to the laissez-faire attitude on the sociological question of British race relations— laissez-faire attitudes and policies which were rampant in the 1950s, and laissez-faire attitudes which caused a complete escapist and dishonourable approach to the subject of the integration of coloured people within our white communities. As an Opposition Back-Bencher speaking almost at the end of a long list of speakers in the debate initiated by the noble Lord, Lord Walston, I should like to develop my theme on the angle of tolerance. Wide research throughout England and Wales has shown that the majority of our population is found to be tolerantly inclined, the greatest tolerance factor being found in those under 35 years of age and especially among those who have worked alongside coloured people. It is encouraging to find this to be so, and it speaks well for the fairness of the British people.

Despite that, we find that there is still room for manœuvre and, given constructive policies and firm leadership, the evidence in Mr. Rose's book shows that although there are still variations in the levels of tolerance in different regions of the country, the tolerance angle varies with the availability of such scarce resources as housing. In the debate to-day the noble Lord, Lord Shepherd, has done much, I hope, to dispel Mr. Rose's latent fears with regard to housing. The noble Lord took great care in his speech to explain Her Majesty's Government's attitude and hopes with regard to the housing of immigrants.

To return to the factor of tolerance, Mr. Rose finds that the big variation in the tolerance figure is caused by the character and general make-up of the local population and its past economic and social history. In wide terms, there appear to be great differences between the North of England, the South-East and the Midlands. Mr. Rose points out that we must not look upon English society as monolithic: so much so that we cannot even assume that within a given region the response will be uniform. He proves, for example, very notable differences between the East and the West Midlands. Mr. Rose goes on to suggest that it is of paramount importance to have a great measure of flexibility in hand when local authorities start to discuss positive policies. From time to time and from area to area we may find some evidence of hostile response; but this, Mr. Rose suggests, need not be taken as typical. That is his main reason for saying that we need positive policies to enable us to build upon solid ground.

In race relations, Mr. Rose points out that we are dealing with minorities who have come to this country to stay, so that they and their children will be part of the future of our national heritage. I submit that we must firmly acknowledge this situation, and that it would be totally wrong to try to alter such a trend by any attempt through coersion of the minorities of coloured people into departure from our shores. In another place the Member for Wolverhampton, South-West Division, Mr. Enoch Powell, and another Member, Mr. Duncan Sandys, suggested that that might be a solution. In the case of Mr. Enoch Powell there was an immediate outcry and he was labelled as an anti-racialist. Although I agree with a great deal of Mr. Rose's reasoning, I feel that I must state that I believe in the repatriation of those members of the coloured community who are unhappy here; for if it is so, and we have failed in helping them to integrate successfully, their happiness will deter them from being good and satisfied citizens of this country. I believe that it was in this sense that both Members of another place made such a suggestion. And here I defend them, while adding that any lack of good and successful integration must in the greater part be due to the non-existence of firm policy reasoning for successful race integration and relationships such as Her Majesty's Government are planning to-day.

The Minister, the noble Lord, Lord Beswick, knows from a conversation we had a few days ago that I do not stand for anyone's being treated as a second-class citizen, whether that citizen is white, black, yellow or any combination of colours. We live in a day and age when all of us must pull our weight for the good of the community as a whole and for the ultimate benefit of Great Britain. A moment ago I mentioned combination of colour. Here I stand four square with the noble Lord, Lord Brooke of Cumnor, who during his excellent speech on the Expiring Laws Bill said—and here I quote from Hansard of November 25, col. 1204: I believe that Britain can gain much by learning from other cultures and setting a shining example in treating everybody who settles and lives in these Islands as equal in all respects before the law. The noble Lord then went on to say: But I believe equally firmly that Britain is likely to make her best contribution to the world if she continues to be, as she has been for centuries, a nation of predominantly Anglo-Saxon stock; and I think that that needs to continue in London and all the great cities of our country too. If, for saying that, I am called a racialist, a racialist in that sense is what I am proud to be. I repeat that I stand four square with the noble Lord, Lord Brooke of Cumnor, over this, especially when he has agreed to-day to say that we are of European stock. If noble Lords question the noble Lord over what he said, then your Lordships will have to take issue with me also.

May I turn for a moment to the question of combinations of colour through a biological issue. Combinations of race and colour do not act or work, I feel, for the benefit of the future of Great Britain. The subject has been studied pretty carefully by biologists and sociologists, and the answer is not favourable. The black or otherwise coloured man has great pride in marrying a woman of his own colour, just in the same way as the white man, for preference, seeks a white spouse. There is nothing antiracialist in this. It so happens, I submit, to be the best solution in marriage for both black and white. I hope that we shall keep it that way.

I am almost the last to speak in this debate, so I must keep my remaining remarks as brief as possible. Her Majesty's Government are, I feel, watching the progress of integration very carefully, and. I, for one in your Lordships' House, would like to stress that racial relations—that is, colour and citizenship—is a vast and intricate problem. Her Majesty's Government, or, for that matter, any Government which is in power, will have to keep a constant watch and have firm policies at hand successfully to guide the integration of our coloured brothers during the next decade.

I repeat that I congratulate Mr. Rose, Her Majesty's Government and the Ministers directly concerned, on the paths they are hewing for successful integration over the next ten years. I believe they point in the right direction. Legion are the problems any Government will have to face. Others who have spoken before me have referred to them, so I will not enlarge upon them now. In brief, these problems range from housing, employment, education, social welfare (which includes hospitalisation) to community relations (in which we must include a successful coloured community relationship with our great police forces in England); civil rights and immigrant leadership; the neighbourhood project and the individual, and the correct guidance of a national community service, together with the mass media of public education for successful race relations.

My Lords, I should like to add a plea to those noble Lords who have spoken on the immigration policy. In this respect I hope that any Government will be careful about the number of immigrants we take in as a host country. We are a very welcoming country but we should not over-play our hand in this connection. I do not mind whether the immigrants to be integrated are from the Commonwealth or from Ireland, the West Indies, the Caribbean, India, Pakistan or Cyprus: it would be amoral to accept too large a number until we are satisfied that we are completely successful with regard to those we have already welcomed to our shores. We must have sufficient houses, schools, beds in hospitals, and sufficient employment for them, without creating any unemployment of our own citizens whose heritage is proudly referred to as "Great Britain".

What is the position of integration and employment at the present time? I have no hesitation in saying that it has not adversely affected our own citizens who have a right to claim employment, especially those who are willing to do a hard day's work without petty squabbling on the shop floor and frequent tea breaks. My Lords, in saying that I mean to imply that, no matter which Government is in power, we must put our backs to the wall to bring Great Britain through to be once again the shining example to the world that she has been in the past.

What are the coloured immigrants contributing to our country now? My Lords, they are contributing a great deal. I think the Minister of Health, the right honourable Richard Crossman, and the Minister in your Lordships' House, the noble Baroness, Lady Serota, would be able to inform you better than I can, in that thousands of the beds in our hospitals would have had to be treated as redundant had it not been for the coloured doctors and nurses who have made such a great contribution in keeping them operative. Apart from those who work in hospitals, we should not forget the very good service of those who work for London Transport, British Rail, together with the good record of those who work in our various industries: those who work in the building trade or as general labourers, and those who earn their living in, and make a valuable contribution to, the dental services and scientific and professional services. They deserve our thanks. For my final words I will quote the last five lines of W. H. Auden's poem, which serves as an introduction to Mr. Rose's great work Colour and Citizenship: There is no such thing as the State, And no one exists alone; Hunger allows no choice To the citizen or the police; We must love one another or die.

8.45 p.m.


My Lords, the majority of speakers in this very long debate have referred to "immigrants", "coloured people" or "the race problem" in a global sense. I wish to remind the House that what we are talking about are human beings, and human beings from a vastly different series of places, with vastly different backgrounds, cultures, aspirations and ways of life. Chapter 23 of Colour and Citizenship contains a fascinating account of the different patterns of settlement of the various communities we group together as "the immigrants".

There is the Pakistani community which came with lower expectations, with no great desire to be assimilated into the British community but with a closely knit and extended family system. There is the Sikh community—a proud, very cohesive, highly organised people who have already shown themselves well able to protect their rights when they are under threat. I do not think that, taking those communities, anyone would deny the immense value, to them and to the community as a whole, which has arisen by reason of their cultural and religious identity. The Muslim, the Sikh and the Hindu faiths have been the means of providing community services and advice; have been the means of throwing up truly representative leaders and, most important, they have been the means whereby, when faced with rejection and discrimination, the peoples of the Asian communities are able to maintain their self-respect and pride. No matter what happens to them here, they are still able to say, "I am a Moslem" or, "I am a Sikh. I have a culture which is every bit as good as yours". I believe it would be generally accepted that that self-respect has been a great source of strength.

My Lords, contrast the position of the West Indian people. They, of course, were the creation of the British slave trade. Their culture—African culture—was destroyed by the process of enslavement, and over the years which followed the abolition of slavery it was replaced by a British culture. Their language, their education, their religion were all given to them by this country. They were brought up to believe in England as being truly the "Mother Country", and when they were invited over here—and let us all remember that they were invited by us to fill the jobs that we needed filled—they came with the highest hopes and the greatest desire to live as British. They had the greatest desire to do this of all the peoples who have come here; and because their expectation was the highest their disillusionment has been the greatest. Make no mistake about it, my Lords, great numbers of them feel rejected, and they have reason to feel it, not only because of the coldness and the hostility which they have met in going about this country, but also because of the statements which emanate in high places about the need to control immigration.

This is not the point at which to enter into the whole argument on immigration control, but I want to say this. Many of us on this side of the House were strongly critical of the 1965 White Paper, and even more strongly critical of the Commonwealth Immigrants Act 1968. It may be said now, "Why were we so critical?" I believe that the 1968 Act was almost the last straw, passed at a time when everyone was saying, "There are more of them coming in"—passed in a state of panic. I regret to say that that Act may be seen to be a turning point when the members of the black community said to themselves, "What can we hope for from either side of the political spectrum?"

That rejection is there, and whatever our hopes for the future we must take it into account. The disillusionment and bitterness which were felt at that rejection was all the more hard to bear and all the more damaging because of the lack of any alternative culture, any alternative national or religious identity, other than the one to which they hoped they would be welcomed in this country. All that black people—and when I say "black people" I am referring to West Indians—are able to say when rejected by the host community is, "Well, I am still proud; I am proud to be black".

The noble Lord, Lord Walston, in one of the only passages of his introductory speech with which I disagreed, made, I thought, a disparaging reference to Black Power as being an alternative to valuable community leadership, and in the rest of my speech I want to try to explain how the aspirations of those who talk about Black Power are aspirations which are and should become part of valuable community leadership. I take the experience of the community of North Kensington in which I live. I cannot better the description given by the noble Lord, Lord O'Hagan, of what it must feel like to be black, and particularly a young teenager, growing up in an area like North Kensington—and there are many such areas around the country. For those young people share with many of their young contemporaries difficulties with their family relationships. They, like many other young people, revolt against the very strict family discipline in their homes. Like many other young people, they wish to go out and find youth clubs which will accept them, and the Report makes it very clear that the record of youth clubs in the field of youth work among black people has not been good. They are in many cases rejected from the youth clubs or made not to feel at home in them, and they find themselves in large numbers either walking about the streets or congregating in seedy basements to have parties. I have been to some of those parties; I have been in a room where there are 100 or 200 young West Indians dancing to blues music, and I have been the only white person among them.

Because they are often on the streets, they attract the attention of the police. Because of that, in many cases they are picked up by the police, sometimes for something they have done and sometimes without justification. Because they are picked up by the police, they find themselves in the courts, often without legal representation, and their view of society gets more and more bitter. It is impossible to know the extent of prejudice and discrimination and bad behaviour among the police. All I can report from my experience is the deep distrust, and very serious distrust, in my community, which I think is parallel to other communities, between the black population and the police; and that distrust, I am convinced, is to some degree founded on serious malpractice.

I do not want to be a Cassandra in this debate. There are many extremely encouraging and hopeful signs in the Report that we are discussing, but if there is going to be racial conflict in this country, I believe that conflict will arise from the lot of the West Indian and that the flashpoint of that conflict will be the relations with and the mistrust of the police. If there are recommendations in the Report which I would urge the Government to consider, and I would ask my noble friend when she replies to consider, for immediate implementation, they are the recommendations which concern the police. In that situation—and I am depicting it in a pessimistic way because I find a lot of pessimism among the local black community—what should their response be? I believe that any member of that community sitting in the Gallery for the whole of this debate would not be entirely reassured by the wisdom that has come from all the speakers. He would say: "Well, we expected great things from Britain. Our hopes have been very disappointed, and we are not at all sure that the efforts of the host community alone can do everything for us". Their response, in my experience, has been twofold. First of all, there have been emerging a number of militant leaders. They sometimes, I find, depict the society we live in with alarming clarity, and particularly when they talk about its history of imperialism in the world, but at the same time they have very little following and very little constructive programme for the future.

Secondly, and much more constructively, I am thinking of one particular organisation in my own community known as the United Black People's Improvement Organisation. That organisation takes a different line. It says to its members: "Certainly we have problems as black people in this community, but we can help ourselves to solve these problems. We can build up for our people welfare services, co-operatives and advice services. We can do that by showing, particularly to young people, who may be, if nothing is done, totally alienated, that they are not rejects of society, whatever anybody says; that they have a culture; that they can be proud to be black; that they have brothers in Africa who are fighting the same struggle for economic parity as they are fighting over here". Their job is a very difficult one. Because of the total lack of any cultural or religious unity among West Indians, there is a strong tendency towards disorganisation. Their difficulties will only be increased if, as I regret too often happens, they are all, just because they talk about their pride in being black or Black Power, labelled as being subversive or, worse, racialist, because I can assure your Lordships that there is nothing at all racialist in most of the people trying to do something for the West Indian community here. I beg your Lordships and everybody else concerned with these problems to understand the aspirations of black people; not to treat Black Power as a term of abuse, but to understand it as a genuine response which can be a most constructive response to the serious situation which we have been discussing to-day.

8.58 p.m.


My Lords, this fine report certainly deserves attention, and I am glad that, thanks to the initiative of the noble Lord, Lord Walston, it has had so much given to it by so many speakers this afternoon and this evening. The report, it seems to me, has the great merit of a single, simple, clear aim. From start to finish, from the words of Mr. Mason, writing the foreword, or Mr. Rose: … his task, as he saw it, was to assemble a body of knowledge… to the words of the editor himself, in the concluding chapter: The aim of this Report, is very simply, to put into circulation information which might serve as the basis for policy making", this aim is clearly expressed. And I am sure that it was the right aim, and one well worth the work of so many intelligent people over such a long period. They fully deserve the praise which has been showered on them to-day. And all those in politics, central Government and local government, whose duty it is to formulate and execute race relations policy will be grateful for what has been done.

The Editor of the Report also makes the point, very properly and modestly, that the Report has not the authority of a Royal Commission, nor the impartiality of pure social science. It is helpful to have that clearly stated by the Editor himself because, of course, it is very true; and it is a point that, if it had not been clearly made, would need a good deal of emphasis. It would need to be emphasised, I believe, for two reasons; first, because the contributors make no bones about their bias, which is strongly liberal—with a small "1". Even in the most detailed and technical analysis of statistical material they allow their liberal bias to come through. There are a number of classic examples of this, but at this late hour I will forbear from quoting them. Although this partiality, this bias, makes study based upon the Report rather laborious, I think that on the whole I prefer a naked bias to a disguised and hidden one.

The second reason why it would be necessary to emphasise the authority and the impartiality which the Report does not have, if the Editor had not admitted it, is because the 78 recommendations must not be swallowed whole but must be accepted for careful and further study: not so much because they are not impartial or because they lack authority, but because they do not flow from the stated aim of the Report, which was to provide a body of knowledge.

The aim chosen by the Institute of Race Relations, supported by the Nuffield Trust and accepted by the Editor of the Report himself, was to put into circulation information, a body of knowledge, that might serve as a basis for policy making. The Editor and his team were chosen for this job, and they have done it well. If they have a biased view on some issues, they have been at least transparently frank and open about it, and they are to be congratulated on that. They were not chosen or paid, and they did not set out, to frame policy; and they are not people who are in a position to do this. As the noble Lord the Minister of State indicated: What they have to say about future policy Is, of course, of interest and deserves study, but is of less consequence than the bulk of the admirable Report, for which those who are concerned with framing policy will nevertheless be most grateful. To continue, and still following some thoughts which the noble Lord the Minister of State put before us, he reminded us that by far the best thing we can do for race relations here, and elsewhere in the world, is in the realm of overseas aid to developing countries; for that aid to be increased in amount and improved in character—increased to the point where most people in future will choose to spend most of their lives in their own homeland. The authors of the Report, on page 676, consider aid on this scale to be impracticable; and so it is, if short-term results are expected of it. But fortunately the authors of the Pearson Report, Partners in Development, who had studied the matter, think otherwise, though they make it plain that the achievement of this aim will take time and will call for much less selfishness, much more disinterested skill, than the developed countries have so far displayed. They are confident that what the Rose Report describes as "out of the question" is a realistic long-term aim. Not only is it a realistic aim; it is an urgent and imperative obligation on the developed countries, because if, through selfishness, blindness, shortsightedness, or apathy, we in the developed countries do not succeed in helping the underdeveloped countries to reach a decent standard of living quickly, within the next generation, we shall have many more rivers than the River Tiber flowing with blood.

It is important that we should tackle urgently and effectively the problems of race relations that this Report has identified and analysed. Of course it is. But these are little local problems compared to the overall international problem of the relations between the races in this sadly unbalanced world. My hope is that what we see here revealed in this Report will spur us on, not just to tackle social injustice in this land but still more to realise how urgent and pressing is the injustice between the nations the whole world over, and to tackle that problem with far more energy, skill, and resources than we are at present deploying.

When, in time, these chapters of world history in which we are living are set out and headed, "The development decades", our successive British immigration and race relations policies will, I fear, look as mistaken as they were noble. In 1948, as we began to give up political control of the Asian, Indian, and African countries of the Commonwealth, we gave all of them, all their citizens, British nationality, and with it a statutory right to come and live here. We deliberately recruited some of them as cheap labour to come and work here. As part of our technical assistance programme we quite rightly opened our colleges, our universities and our hospitals, to train Commonwealth students and nurses. But—and this is where we were far from noble—we kept them here to help us to run our country, and particularly our National Health Service, instead of seeing that they went back to deal with the far more urgent and pressing needs in their own countries. Of all the mistakes that unthinking liberalism and laissez-faire has landed us with, this free trade in Commonwealth citizens—and particularly the free trade in doctors—has perhaps proved to be one of the most harmful. At the moment (and the noble Baroness, Lady Gaitskell, dealt with this point) we export our doctors, on whom we have spent about £10,000 a head, to the United States. We import in their place the best doctors we can get from India, so we find ourselves in the situation that we have the Indians, with all their needs, helping the American Health Service, and Britain acting as the broker.

There is another reason why laissez-faire will not do. All Commonwealth countries are now free from any restraint from Westminster, and they are free, when they so decide, to eject their alien residents, as the Kenyans did last year and as the Ghanaians looked as if they were about to do a few weeks ago. We must have the powers to counter the effects of actions like this, powers such as the Government, rightly but belatedly, took last year. The only sensible thing to do now—and at last we are agreed about doing it—is what Mr. Philip Mason, the Director of the Institute of Race Relations, recommended four or five years ago. It is quoted on page 658 of the Report; namely, to use his own words, … to cut down sharply the number of fresh entries until this mouthful has been digested. Those were the words of the Director himself; they are not mine. If his advice had been given and taken sooner we should not have had the kind of panic we had last year. But even now the machinery of control needs still further refinement, not so much to protect the standard of living of everyone already here, but to make sure that our technical assistance programme to the developing countries is properly directed and that skills that have been learnt here are used where they are needed most.

A still further measure of refinement will also be needed before our entry into Europe. This will have to be a form of control, as I understand it, which is capable of allowing the free movement of labour into and out of this country from and to all the European countries of the E.E.C., the Common Market, because that is what is required by the Treaty of Rome, and yet at the same time a policy strictly curbing and controlling the permanent entry of labour from everywhere else. All this must be done while continuing to admit students from the developing world to study and tourists to tour in their millions.

My Lords, with all this pressing in upon us—the urgent problems of social deprivation in many places where Commonwealth immigrants have settled (not because they have settled); services grossly overdependent on overseas labour; large numbers of dependants still, without question, to be admitted; the necessity to maintain and, if possible, increase training in this country fot overseas students from developing countries; the urgent necessity to increase the scale of overseas aid; the prospects of much more intense competition for jobs and markets from the E.E.C. countries; and, on top of all that, the tourist industry setting out to push our annual dosage of four million tourists a year up to ten million—with all this pressing in upon us the man in the street may well be forgiven for wondering whose England this is. He has been in the habit of thinking that it was his. He has been in the habit of thinking that it was a great country with great, worthwhile, worldwide responsibilities. He still believes this, and he is ready and capable of accepting the challenge inherent in this greatness.

I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Gore-Booth, that there is no occasion for despair here. But this is not the moment, my Lords, to turn in upon our own internal affairs. It is the moment to rise to these responsibilities. If we are to do this, the man in the street must be given much more confidence that all these matters are now coming under proper control and will henceforth be properly tackled, not just in their local context but as part of a worthwhile, worldwide policy.


My Lords, may I interrupt the noble Lord for a moment? May I ask him whether he is going to come on to some constructive suggestions about race relations in this country?


My Lords, I think that would not be the general wish of the House at this stage of the debate. We have listened to 24 speakers, and between them they have made a major contribution by way of constructive policy. I am certainly not going to be tempted by that invitation to embark upon such a course at this stage. All I was saying was that the man in the street will henceforward need to be reassured that all these issues, which I have just listed, are coming under proper control and forming part of an overall, worthwhile, worldwide policy. He must have more confidence that Her Majesty's Government have a clear vision of the role that Great Britain is to play in race relations, not just in the United Kingdom but in the world as a whole, in the next critical development decade.

9.14 p.m.


My Lords, I think the whole House will agree that we have had a valuable, far-ranging and, I believe, in the main, constructive discussion which has reflected both the importance of the subject and the immense scope of the Report, Colour and Citizenship, which has provided the background for the debate.

Of the importance of this subject in the life of the community and indeed the whole range of citizen relationships within it, there can I think be no doubt, and in particular—and I would stress this at the conclusion of the debate—we must all have constantly in the forefront of our minds the position in our society of those of our fellow citizens who are to be distinguished from the rest of the community only by the colour of their skin and by no other criteria whatsoever. It cannot, I think, and especially in view of the speech we have just had, be said too often that such people will not be aliens; they are in every sense of the word full members of the community and must be treated as such. My noble friend, Lord Shepherd, has already, I believe, made this clear at the outset of the debate, and I feel a duty on behalf of the Government to repeat those same words because of the importance we attach to the principle of full equality.

Your Lordships will certainly not expect me and will not want me to reply in detail at this late hour to all the various points which have been made in the course of this long debate. I propose, therefore, to confine myself to what I see as some of the main things that have emerged and have indeed run through the discussion. I have no doubt that full note will be taken of all the points that have been made in our debate to-day. I should like at the outset to pay my own tribute to the team of authors who produced what I believe the noble Lord, Lord Brooke, called this massive Report, and to the Institute of Race Relations for sponsoring it. Perhaps it was fortunate that I had the forethought to read this Report in the Summer Recess. It dealt with matters that have always been of very great concern to me, representing as I did for some 13 or 14 years the Brixton Division of Lambeth, which is one of the areas of greatest concentration of the kind of problems to which your Lordships have been addressing your minds to-day. I know only too well the social centre at St. Matthew's, to which the most reverend Primate referred in the course of his valuable speech to us.

I think it is fair to say that studies of the kind that have been incorporated in this particular Report have a considerable part to play in contributing to the stock of knowledge that is available both to the Government and to other forms of organisations involved in this field, in exploring various ways forward, in evaluating policies and in making recommendations for change and development. That does not mean that the Government necessarily accept every criticism of their policies that were made by the authors of the book, but I believe there are certainly no differences between the Government and the Institute, and between the Government and many of your Lordships who have spoken in the debate to-day, about the objectives that we believe should be achieved. We all welcomed the opportunity to debate the Report to-day. Several noble Lords—and I would say that this is the main theme that has come out of the debate—have mentioned the need to ensure that where social deprivation exists steps should be taken to relieve it, irrespective of whether or not the deprived are among recent arrivals to this country.

This, of course, is already a feature of our major social programmes, and I should like again to take this opportunity of stressing the underlying principle on which all Government social policies in this field are based and which no one, I believe, has challenged in the course of the debate, from whichever part of the House he has spoken. Immigrants do not receive aid because they arc immigrants; they receive it because they are citizens. True, when they first arrive there are transitional difficulties of adjustment which may require special attention; but, with special help, I think we all should agree that those difficulties will gradually disappear.

I believe that the best illustration of this basic principle of Government policy can be seen in the developments which flow from the urban aid programme, and I was glad that at the outset of the debate the noble Lord, Lord Walston, welcomed this programme and supported the action which the Government have taken as a result of it. It is indeed a measure of positive discrimination which is intended generally to help those people in areas, particularly in urban areas, of special social need who are suffering from a concentration of social handicap and difficulty, a concentration of bad housing, poor schools and all the problems which have been touched on by various speakers in the debate. I know that the noble Lord, Lord Walston, feels that the scope of this programme needs to be increased and that central Government should intervene where he sees local government failing.

The main emphasis in this programme is on projects which cater for the general community as a whole in the areas concerned; and immigrants living alongside in the community will benefit together with the other citizens. The House may remember that I stressed this particular principle of the programme when I moved the Second Reading of the Bill in this House last January. I think that at that time the noble Lord, Lord Aberdare, whose concern with education and in particular with the education of younger children is well known to everyone here, made a speech referring to the need to develop voluntary play groups. There were also problems such as induction centres and other means of providing language teaching which relate specifically to immigrants; but in general the urban aid projects are aimed at relieving transitional difficulties of newly-arrived immigrants in the way I have mentioned.

My Lords, the use of Section 11—a subject which has not been touched upon by anyone who has spoken—is yet another Government means designed to ease the transition difficulties of immigrants. I will ask my noble friend Lord Walston to add this to the urban aid programme; because it enables the Home Secretary to pay grants in respect of employment of staff to local authorities who have the need to make special provision, who need language help and other forms of assistance. The House may care to know that expenditure under this grant (which is given at the rate of 75 per cent., exactly the same as the urban aid programme) amounted to some £4 million in 1968–69 and it is expected to rise to £5.7 million in the coming year. As the noble Lord, Lord Brooke, rightly pointed out, the great majority of these projects are aimed at helping people generally in the urban areas, whether or not they are immigrants. Under the first two phases of this programme we have already given approval to expenditure by 89 local authorities on a programme of some £8 million, grant aided, as I have said, by 75 per cent. from central Government.

The first phase of the programme, and one to which all noble Lords will attach a great deal of importance, is the provision of day nurseries, nursery classes and children's homes; and the second phase is now extending the range of activities over a wider field. This is in line with the Report's recommendations, and it is the intention of the Government to continue it for a further four years, making a programme of from £20 million to £25 million of local authority expenditure by 1972. I think that one can evaluate the effect of this programme of positive discrimination when one realises that it has enabled us to give approval to over 400 new nursery classes providing some 10,000 nursery school and class places for our under-fives.

This development has been universally acclaimed by all who have campaigned for years for the development of nursery education. No one could agree more than I with the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of London when he stressed the need to provide services for the under-fives. The whole objective of this aspect of Government policy has been to concentrate on the early and formative years in order to prevent social deprivation and handicaps, which we all know affect the abilities of children to learn and to adjust and to grow into well-adjusted citizens.

This is one of the greatest achievements of all of our urban aid programme. It should not be seen in isolation from the general policy of the Government towards educational development and the £16 million school building programme which followed the publication of the Plowden Report. I have already mentioned Government aid to voluntary play groups. This amount is some £150,000, not in terms of buildings but in terms mainly of the salaries of play leaders. This is the first occasion when we have had a co-ordination of voluntary and statutory effort—which I know the noble Lord, Lord Brooke, was so concerned about when the Social Needs Bill went through the House to the extent of helping the under-fives in this way.

Turning to the individual social policies of the Government on particular services, I should find it difficult, as I said at the outset, to answer every point over the whole range mentioned. The noble Baroness, Lady Swanborough, spoke from her unrivalled knowledge of the housing field. As a distinguished member of my right honourable friend's Central Advisory Council on Housing, who better could we have heard from? She will know that the Cullingworth Report has stressed the need to provide generally more local authority housing advice. I see this development for special help for immigrants once again in the line of our general principles of developing services for the community as a whole and special help for immigrants within them.

We all listened to the speech of the noble Lord, Lord Sainsbury, with the greatest interest. Without wishing to give him a commercial "plug", I think it fair to say that the firm with which he and other members of his family are connected has given a shining example of community relations in its employment policies. It is always a pleasure to catch the noble Lord, Lord Brockway, out. He asked me to give an assurance that the Government would include a non-discrimination clause in its contracts. For someone who is so avid a reader of Parliamentary Papers, I am sorry he missed the statement of the Chancellor of the Exchequer on November 22, that this was Government policy and that Govern- meat Departments would be prepared to withhold contracts from firms practising racial discrimination in employment.

A great deal has been said in this debate about education—again illustrative of the principles running through the debate—but I must say a word here, particularly as my noble friend Lord Shepherd said at the outset that I should do so. The right reverend Prelate, the Bishop of London, wanted to see much greater Government intervention in local authority education services. That is not the way we organise education in this country. The direct responsibility for meeting the needs of immigrant children in the schools is on the local authority and, particularly, on the teachers in the day-to-day classroom situation. The role of the Department of Education and Science has been to give them support by making available extra resources, by providing buildings and teachers; by stimulating curriculum development and research, in consultation with other bodies, and by collecting and disseminating statistics on which policies are based. And above all, and perhaps most important of all for the future, by encouraging new approaches to teacher training with immigrant needs in mind.

I should like to say a word about the dispersal of children, a point which one or two noble Lords have mentioned. Practice here varies as between different local authorities, and I know from my own experience in London that the Inner London Education Authority—the largest in the country—took the view that dispersal was not the solution to the London problem, where one had an education authority that had been used to assimilating immigrants into the community over a period of time without any problem being presented. But my right honourable friend recognises that there are differences here between local authorities and he recognises, too, that the Department must keep this field of policy under review, in the light of the progress that is being made in the schools, by meeting the linguistic problems of our immigrant children.

I should not wish to leave the field of education, my Lords, without a brief reference to the point made by the noble Lord, Lord Wade, and my my noble friend Lady Gaitskell, about the critical need to facilitate the transition between school and work. For all children this is a vital moment in their lives, and this is especially so for children who are recent arrivals in this country. For children who are born here it would be a tragedy if, at the moment between leaving school and entering employment there was discrimination against them.

I was glad that the noble Lord, Lord O'Hagan, drew attention to the recent Report of the Select Committee on Race Relations and Immigration which took this problem as its first area of study. The Government have already expressed their welcome to the important contribution made to the development of constructive action in this key area for future community relations. The Government hope shortly to make available in a White Paper their detailed comments on the recommendations. I am sure that it would not be proper for me to go any further at this stage, except to say that the Government have found the recommendations of the Select Committee extremely helpful and constructive.

I would next like to say a word or two on the subject of co-ordinated policies and action in respect of race relations. My noble friend Lord Walston, and later the noble Lord, Lord Gore-Booth, suggested that this is a point on which the Government are open to criticism and need to take steps to put their own house in order. I can only say to both noble Lords that these remarks will cause a little surprise to Ministers and to officials working in this field. I must confess that this may well be the result of the traditional cloak that we cast over the details of the machinery of government; but as one who knows, to her cost, what it is to be one of the cogs I can assure both noble Lords that there is an extremely close-knit machinery at ministerial and at official level which I believe achieves effectively what they are anxious to do.

The fact is, my Lords, that the need to co-ordinate the policies of individual Departments and relate them to a common theme was recognised very early on in the life of this Government: first in the decision that one Department, the Home Office, should undertake the responsibility, and, secondly, that special Government machinery was needed to co-ordinate policies and action. I think that evidence of the effectiveness of the machinery which the Government established in this sphere is the success of the urban aid programme.

I have touched briefly to-night on some of the practical results of this programme; I would have detailed far more but for the late hour. It may well be that one or two of the criticisms have reflected the belief that co-ordinated machinery—a better form of machinery, if I may put it in that way—would have produced more dramatic results. But I am dubious whether that is so. The important thing (and I think it wise not to avoid the issue in this controversial field) is that we should make continuous progress and maintain a common aim over the very wide and varied range of Government activities. I submit that no one Department in such a highly developed country as this one, and with such a wide range of specialist services, could compass the whole of the field of activity involved. I suggest to the House that what is required is not merely co-ordinated action by central Government, important as that must be, but that it should be matched by a contribution from local authorities and neighbourhood level activities; from both sides of industry; from the Churches; from the universities and from individual members of the community.

Several noble Lords have spoken from personal experience of the role of non-Government agencies here. The most reverend Primate spoke of the role of the Churches, and my noble friend Lord Soper reminded us of the grave problems of leadership which are involved in community development schemes of any kind. As he rightly said, community development does not mean a new form of paternalism. I was glad when my noble friend Lord Brockway spoke of the contribution of youth in the voluntary field, and I know that the House will be pleased to hear that recently the National Union of Students has had most constructive discussions with the Home Office and the Community Relations Commission on how students can help in voluntary social work.

Two of the most striking contributions to this debate have been made by the youngest Members of your Lordships' House. Clearly, they are in much closer touch with the real problems than others who have taken part in the debate—and I know that noble Lords will not mind my saying this. These younger Members spoke with all the feeling and fire and compassion that I believe typifies youth in this country to-day. I have taken note of what they have said, and I am sure that my right honourable friend will do the same.

I began by stressing what seemed to me to be a vital question of principle—namely, that while the special needs of immigrants, in the true sense of the word, must not be overlooked, our real concern in the longer term is with the people who will not be immigrant but will have been born and educated here, who will marry and have their children here, and who will be full members of the community in every sense of the word. I believe that with a common effort—and here several noble Lords have spoken of the long and deep tradition of tolerance that exists in this country—there is no reason why we should not achieve a society in which colour is no more a ground for discrimination or exclusion than a regional accent or a code of belief.

It will perhaps not be unfitting if I end by quoting what Colour and Citizenship itself places as a principal recommendation—namely, that those who are in a position of authority and who are leaders of public opinion, nationally, locally or in neighbourhood areas, should take heart at the extent of the support which we know can be found throughout the country for tolerant attitudes, provided that we all speak out for them ourselves.

My Lords, we are all grateful to my noble friend Lord Walston for initiating this debate, which has enabled so many Members of the House to demonstrate their tolerance and their concern that our society should provide for all its citizens, regardless of colour, creed or race. I hope that the debate will assist in raising the level of public tolerance and understanding of these important questions and will contribute to the further development of the harmonious multiracial society that we all seek to bring about in this country.

9.39 p.m.


My Lords, this has been a memorable debate, and I know that not only I but the whole House are grateful to all noble Lords who have taken part in it. We have listened to age and to youth, to idealism and to realism, to clerics and to laymen, to Conservatives, Liberals, Cross-Benchers and Socialists, and the universal message which has gone out from this House—and I hope that it will be listened to far and wide—is that your Lordships, to a man and to a woman, are against discrimination in any form and are prepared to work to the best of their abilities for tolerance and integration. I echo what my noble friend Lady Serota has said about the contributions of youth in this debate. I would also thank particularly those noble Lords who do not normally take part in debates on this subject. They have all made worthwhile contributions, and it is encouraging to know that so many people who normally do not come and talk about these things have a deep feeling about them and have studied the matter.

It was a pleasure to listen to my noble friend and to hear what the Government have done, and what they are doing, for which I give them full credit. But I hope that I shall not be considered churlish it I say that I detected, particularly in the speech of my noble friend Lord Shepherd, a certain element of (shall I say?) smugness about some of the things which are being done: an attitude that: "You need not worry; all is for the best in the best of all worlds." I cannot help comparing my noble friend's speech with that of the most reverend Primate, who, in a magnificent and memorable speech, said that the churches in the past had failed in certain aspects, that now they were doing different things and would go on doing different things. I know it is difficult for Ministers to say that sort of thing quite so frankly. and I hope that some of the words masked the intention to look carefully at some of the past failings and to build on the undoubted successes and advances that have been made.

The only discordant note that I am afraid I must bring in is with regard to the speech of the noble Lord, Lord Sandford. I would describe it as a lamentable speech. The noble Lord described the Report fairly and accurately, and he gave praise for what was said there. He disagreed with some of the recommendations—we do not know how many—and he resolutely refused to make any constructive suggestions for this most pressing problem —as the noble Lord, Lord Brooke of Cumnor, rightly described it, a problem probably more important than hanging. However, I will not dwell on that. All I would do is to thank all noble Lords who have taken part and those who have stayed to listen until this late hour; to thank the Government, particularly, for what they have done and, in anticipation, for what they are going to do, and beg leave to withdraw the Motion.

Motion for Papers, by leave, withdrawn.