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Volume 649: debated on Thursday 16 November 1961

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asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations what consultations he has had with Commonwealth Governments in order to promote a full understanding by them of the problems facing Her Majesty's Government with regard to the provision of adequate accommodation for immigrants.

The housing problem created by uncontrolled immigration has been explained to Common wealth Governments, and is, I am sure, well understood.

May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether the term "Commonwealth Governments" includes also those other territories which are not as yet completely independent? In any case, has he taken steps towards securing a reconsideration of this matter and consultation not only at high level but at assistant level as well?

If the hon. Member is referring to the general problem of providing houses in this country, he will have to refer that to the Ministry of Housing and Local Government. If he is referring to special accommodation provided mainly for students, we are, as he knows, making a considerable effort. I announced the other day that large sums of money were being set aside to provide additional hostel accommodation for overseas students.

Are we to understand from that reply that it is housing shortage that is the limiting factor in the Government's policy on how many immigrants will be allowed into this country?

I apologise if I have not made myself clear. I asked whether the Minister had had persistent consultation at high level with all Governments in the Commonwealth, whether independent or otherwise, on the precise question of housing as affecting immigrants.

What I was saying to the hon. Member was that we have made it clear to Commonwealth Governments that uncontrolled immigration has serious repercussions on our housing problem here at home, and I think that they understand that quite well.