Emigration and Employment

Oral Answers to Questions — Scotland – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 9th November 1966.

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Earl of Dalkeith:

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what is his latest estimate of the number of men and women of working age, who emigrated from Scotland over the past two years; how many persons he estimates to be out of work at the present time; and how far these figures conform with the estimates in that part of the National Plan which applies to Scotland.

Photo of Mr Eustace Willis Mr Eustace Willis , Edinburgh East

The latest available estimates are that the net loss by emigration of men and women of working age was 59,000 in the two years to June, 1965. There were 67,300 persons out of work on 10th October, 1966. These figures cannot be directly related to the National Plan because it covered the six-year period to 1970 and year by year figures were not given.

Earl of Dalkeith:

Does not the Minister of State realise that these figures make a complete mockery of all the Labour Party's promises during the last election? Can he say what emergency action he will take in order to try to alleviate the hardship that is bound to arise if we have even an average hard winter following on top of the Government's economic policies?

Photo of Mr Eustace Willis Mr Eustace Willis , Edinburgh East

I do not agree that it makes a mockery of Labour Party policies. The Government have already taken a number of measures to alleviate the position in Scotland, and the results of them were shown in the figure I quoted—67,300 persons out of work on 10th October, 1966. That, of course, was lower than for the last three years of the Tory Government.

Photo of Mr Jock Bruce-Gardyne Mr Jock Bruce-Gardyne , South Angus

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he has now completed his study of the Scottish Council (Development and Industry) Report on emigration; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Mr William Ross Mr William Ross , Kilmarnock

The report by the Scottish Council (Development and Industry) was far from exhaustive; but the conclusions on the need to reduce net emigration from Scotland are in accord with the Government's policy.

Photo of Mr Jock Bruce-Gardyne Mr Jock Bruce-Gardyne , South Angus

What is the right hon. Gentleman doing to bring this famous Government policy into effect? Has he noticed that the Scottish Council has pointed out that since Labour has been in power a new trend of net decline in population in Scotland has set in? Has he also noticed that 50 per cent. of the emigrants are now going abroad? Is not this a fair commentary on his Government policies?

Photo of Mr William Ross Mr William Ross , Kilmarnock

The trend may be there, but the hon. Gentleman should not mistake when it started. When the Central Scotland Plan was announced there was a figure which caused his Government concern of 25,000 a year. When we became the Government, we discovered the figure for that period was not 25,000, but over 40,000.