One of the largest polls ever conducted regarding British people’s views on immigration has revealed that the subject remains a divisive issue in the UK.
The poll, which has been described as a ‘National Conversation on Immigration’ drew on the views of nearly 20,000 people using methods including a nationally-representative survey, an online survey and discussions held in local citizens’ panels.
While the majority supported skilled immigration, with 65 per cent of respondents saying migrants brought valuable skills to the economy and public services, there were a sizable number who expressed concerns.
Among the issues they raised were concerns about pressures on housing and public services, and fears that migrants willing to work for less would drive down wages.
Overall, 59 per cent of those polled said diversity is a good thing for British culture, but 40 per cent said they believed having a wide variety of backgrounds and cultures undermined British culture.
People who lived in cities or who were under 45 were more likely to see diversity as a positive.
The report’s authors expressed concerned over the high levels of anti-Islamic prejudice that was especially prevalent in parts of the UK with smaller Muslim populations.
Some respondents talked about Muslims “taking over” cities and saw followers of the religion as a “monolithic group who lead a lifestyle that is incompatible with British life.”
One area regarding immigration where most respondents seem to agree, is that the British government is not currently doing a good job of dealing with it.
Only 13 per cent of people believe their representatives tell the truth about immigration, with just 17 per cent believing that the government does the same.
“The lack of trust we found in the government to manage immigration is quite shocking,” Jill Rutter, Director of Strategy for British Future and co-author of the report, said. “People want to have their voices heard on the choices we make, and to hold their leaders to account on their promises.”
Article published 18th September 2018