Poll reveals seven in 10 Britons think immigration is 'dividing communities'

Poll reveals seven in 10 Britons think immigration is 'dividing communities'

A view of multicultural shops in Brick Lane, London. Image: Getty

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

More than seven in 10 respondents to a poll believe that immigration has "divided" communities.

Some 1,056 people were polled by Sky Data on behalf of Demos between April 30 and May 8, and 63 per cent of those questioned believed life was better when they were growing up.

Some 71 per cent of people thought immigration had been divisive in areas that have seen migrants arrive, rising to 78 per cent of people living in those multicultural communities.

The negative view of immigration was one of the few unifying factors in a study that suggests the UK is divided by age, geography, gender, education, political party affiliation, socio-economic status and whether they voted Leave or Remain in the European referendum.

Some 82 per cent of Britons felt that "fair" or "great" changes lie ahead for Britain, but they were divided between those who thought they would benefit (31 per cent) or lose out (30 per cent).

The government was is not doing enough to promote ‘traditional British values’, said 55 per cent.

Listen to report author Sophie Gaston on the talkRADIO breakfast show above

Some 47 per cent believed ‘British values’ should be favoured over multiculturalism, rising to 76 per cent  among Leave voters.

In contrast, 36 per cent felt "welcoming different cultures" was more important.

Report author Sophie Gaston told Chris Hollins on the talkRADIO breakfast show that perceptions of political correctness could influence people’s views.

“I have people in focus groups talking about the St George's flag and people saying there are connotations around that flag,” she said.

She added that some people felt there was a lack of “British culture”.

“That might less about Britain itself but more about saying ‘we are a Christian country’. So while we’re welcoming all these other cultures, we’re still able to say ‘merry Christmas’.

“I think a sense that political correctness has made it difficult to celebrate these things that are important to people.”

In a statement about the report she added: "It is the responsibility of politicians to listen to and address these concerns, and draw a convincing, empowering narrative to guide citizens through the change that lies ahead."

The two groups most receptive to nostalgic messages were former industrial communities in the north and the white working class in London; and those "particularly incensed by cultural pluralism".

Conversely, data from the Migration Observatory shows that the North East had the second-lowest population of immigrants with 1.6 percent of residents being foreign-born. 

London had the highest number of immigrant residents with 36.8 per cent.