As the answer consists of a table of figures, I will, with permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT. I regret that figures for the migration of employees were not produced prior to the year ended June, 1952.
I thought the right hon. Gentleman would give an average figure. Has he no policy for retaining these workers in Wales? Are there no proposals for that purpose? In the absence of his giving the figures, has he considered the estimated natural increase in the population of Wales over the next 25 years of 750,000? Have the Government no plans for that? Do the Government consider direction of industry as the aim of their policy?
The average figure works out at just under 4,000 a year over the whole period. It has actually been considerably less over the last year or two. The amount of employment in Wales has substantially improved, as the hon. Gentleman will be aware. Therefore, I think that the position generally is not unfavourable at present. Of course, we must go on attracting more industries to these areas, and some of the newer industries there have been very successful.
These 4,000 people represent a considerable loss to Wales. Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that depopulation is rife in some parts of the country? Would he not consider some positive measures to arrest the decline in the population represented by the emigration of 4,000 people every year?
Yes, Sir. As I said, the average over the last two years has been only half that figure. It has, therefore, been substantially better. We must encourage the newer industries, which are already moving into the area.