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Immigration controls

Increase in immigration

Significant immigration from the Caribbean began in 1948. It accelerated during the 1950s at a time when immigrants from India and Pakistan were also arriving in large numbers. Around a quarter of a million black and Asian immigrants arrived in this period. 136,000 immigrants from the <<'New' Commonwealth>> entered Britain in 1961.

Discrimination and race relations

During the 1960s, because of high levels of discrimination and exclusion, and relatively low housing costs in inner cities, black and Asian immigrants settled mainly in inner city areas - in particular London, the West Midlands and West Yorkshire. This had consequences for relations with the indigenous population and led to race riots occurring in London (Notting Hill) and Nottingham during 1958. A number of sociological studies subsequently demonstrated that black and Asian immigrants were subject to discrimination in employment and housing. Race relations therefore became an essential element of social policy in the 1960s.

Before its victory in the 1964 general election, Labour opposed immigration controls. However, poor results (in particular when the Labour shadow Foreign Secretary, Patrick Gordon Walker, was defeated at Smethwick in the West Midlands) highlighted the strength of the anti-immigration lobby. Labour subsequently decided to tighten immigration controls.