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Volume 640: debated on Wednesday 10 May 1961

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asked the Minister of Labour what was the number of immigrants unemployed in the London and South-Eastern and the Midland areas, respectively, on 7th May, 1961, as compared with the corresponding date in 1960; and what percentages they are of total unemployment in the said areas.

On 2nd May, 1961, the numbers of unemployed Commonwealth immigrants were 7,913 and 3,722 for the London and South-Eastern and Midland regions respectively, representing 15·4 per cent. and 13·5 per cent. of the total unemployed register in those regions. The corresponding figures for May, 1960, were 4,754 and 1,202, representing 10·2 per cent. and 7·7 per cent of the total unemployed register.

While I am grateful to my right hon. Friend for circulating the figures, may I ask him whether there is evidence that the greatly increased number of people required for the expansion of these industries in South Wales will be forthcoming, in view of all the problems, such as housing, which must arise?

It is my hope that these vacancies will be filled as they come forward in the future.

Will the right hon. Gentleman also consider the other point that if the Steel Company of Wales is allowed to import coal from the United States there will soon be no vacancies?

Following are the figures:

Does my right hon. Friend realise that these figures indicate that unemployment benefit is paid in these areas at the rate of over £1 million a year? In view of the high incidence of unemployment among immigrants, will he urge his Cabinet colleagues to introduce regulations insisting that immigrants can enter this country only if they have guaranteed jobs to come to?

As my hon. Friend knows, Questions on this subject have been put to my right hon. Friends the Prime Minister and the Home Secretary as well as to me. I have nothing to add to what they have already said.

Is not the answer that most of the immigrants are unskilled people? Among British personnel, the majority of those unemployed are unskilled people.

I think that there is truth in what the hon. Member for Newton (Mr. Lee) says. As I said only last week, one-third of the unemployed immigrants are women, and two-thirds have been unemployed for less than eight weeks.