Emigration

Oral Answers to Questions — Scotland – in the House of Commons at 2:17 pm on 25th January 1995.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Mr David Evans Mr David Evans , Welwyn Hatfield 2:17 pm, 25th January 1995

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many Scotsmen emigrated to England in the years 1975 to 1979.

Photo of Mr Ian Lang Mr Ian Lang , Galloway and Upper Nithsdale

Information is not available on migration to England alone. However, between mid-1975 and mid-1979, net migration from Scotland to the rest of the United Kingdom was approximately 5,000 persons annually. From 1989 to 1994, there has been an average net migration to Scotland from the rest of the United Kingdom of 8,000 per annum.

Photo of Mr David Evans Mr David Evans , Welwyn Hatfield

I thank the Secretary of State for that reply. Could he tell me whether, with this devolution nonsense and the break-up of the United Kingdom that that lot over there want, which will mean that the Scots will pay approximately twice as much direct taxation as the English, he is planning to rebuild Hadrian's wall? Is he prepared to introduce work permits for Scots who want to work in England when all this nonsense takes place? Is he planning to take on the sacked governor of Parkhurst to look after the wall so that that lot cannot get into England to take English jobs?

Photo of Mr Ian Lang Mr Ian Lang , Galloway and Upper Nithsdale

My hon. Friend is right to draw attention in his customary way to the anomalies that would arise were we ever to be so unwise as to weaken Scotland's place in the Westminster Parliament by setting up in Edinburgh a separate Parliament with tax-raising powers. Just as emigration was high under Labour but has moved in the opposite direction under Conservative Governments, so, too, under a future Labour Government, there would be a mass exodus from Scotland.

Photo of John Reid John Reid , Motherwell North

Does not the question reveal the contempt in which the hon. Member for Welwyn Hatfield (Mr. Evans) and his colleagues hold more than 50 per cent. of the population of Scotland in that it deals exclusively with the Scotsmen who emigrated during those years? Is not it a testimony to the foresight and perception of Scotsmen and women that, in the years before the Tory Government, the threat of such a Government forced so many thousands of them between 1975 and 1979 to leave the land that they love? Can we not now take heart from the prospect of a Labour Government which will allow many thousands of Scots throughout the United Kingdom to return happily to the land that was once their own?

Photo of Mr Ian Lang Mr Ian Lang , Galloway and Upper Nithsdale

The hon. Gentleman is obviously wriggling but the fact is that under socialism people left Scotland in very large numbers; under Conservative Governments they have been coming back in very large numbers.