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Immigrants

Volume 640: debated on Tuesday 9 May 1961

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33.

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs in view of estimates now being made that immigrants this year may reach 150,000, what special arrangements he is making to provide houses or flats for such a number additional to the present housing programme.

As the great majority of immigrants on arrival do not need family accommodation, I do not think that there is warrant for the assumption that new houses and flats should be built in proportion to the numbers entering the country. So far as families are concerned, it is the practice of local authorities to assist the rehousing of settled immigrants in the ordinary course of their slum clearance and other housing activities, and I am sure that they will continue to do so.

Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind that these immigrants want accommodation somewhere, and that the building trade's present and future programme is fully stretched? Would he tell his right hon. Friends and colleagues that we cannot take 150,000 persons this year on top of our present housing programme?

I do not know the basis of my hon. Friend's estimate of 150,000. I certainly would not be a party to any special building on grounds of race or colour. I think that by far the best thing is for us to maintain a high standard of building.