Race Relations Act

Oral Answers to Questions — Employment and Productivity – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 4 December 1969.

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Mr. Bid well:

asked the Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity whether she will make a statement about the working of the Race Relations Act as it affects placements by employment exchanges and careers officers.

Photo of Mrs Barbara Castle Mrs Barbara Castle , Blackburn

The number of employers seeking to notify vacancies of a discriminatory kind—which was always small—has been reduced to negligible proportions since the passage of the Act. Reports from careers officers show that, since the passage of the Act, more employers are prepared to consider coloured school leavers on their merits.

Photo of Mr Sydney Bidwell Mr Sydney Bidwell , Southall

I thank my right hon. Friend for that reply, which is most encouraging and offsets the propaganda suggesting that the introduction of this Act was unnecessary. Will she accept that immigrant workers as a whole are making a most valuable contribution to the British economy because they are composed of age group levels far out of proportion with the rest of the indigenous population?

Photo of Mrs Barbara Castle Mrs Barbara Castle , Blackburn

I agree with my hon. Friend that the facts I have reported to the House show the value of the Act and that fears about the Act were totally unwarranted. I also agree that immigrant workers have a vital contribution to make to our national production and that we should help them in that task.