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War Refugees (Repatriation)

Volume 411: debated on Wednesday 6 June 1945

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asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if, in view of the shortage of houses and food for our own people and the necessity of making provision for our returning soldiers, sailors and airmen, he can give an assurance that he will make every effort to expedite the departure of the large number of war refugees in this country.

Civilians who found refuge here when the countries of North and North-West Europe were overrun by the Nazis will be expected to return to those countries as soon as local conditions permit. Many French and Belgians have already gone, but my hon. and gallant Friend will appreciate that many others now lack houses to which they can return and that in any case the rate of return must be limited by difficulties of transport.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he can give an estimate of the number of war refugees at present resident in the London Metropolitan area.

I regret that I am not in a position to give a reliable estimate. The statistics kept by my Department of Aliens who are subject to landing conditions do not distinguish among the wartime arrivals those who can properly be classified as refugees.