Brits rate immigration as society’s biggest issue – poll

“People are obviously very anxious about immigration. But I was struck by how much it was driven by a national rather than a local tension. And I don’t think anyone has any confidence in how it is managed as a system. Also there is concern around national cohesion, identity and ability to cope with the scale of change,” said Katwala.

The British public views immigration as the biggest issue facing society, but UK citizens are basically tolerant to immigration, as long as new arrivals are in work and integrate into society, it was revealed in a poll reported in The Observer.

The poll found that one in three people believes tension between immigrants and UK citizens is a major cause of division, while over half those questioned believe it is one of the top three causes, a major new survey entitled ‘State of the Nation: Where is Bittersweet Britain Heading?’ found out, the British Sunday paper wrote.

Over the past two decades immigration has increased to historically high levels, with 100,000 more people entering than leaving the country every year since 1998.

Sunder Katwala, the director of British Future, the think tank which carried out the survey, said it showed that there was a national anxiety about immigration which politicians needed to address.

However, he pointed out that the results suggested that there was very little relation between the geographical distribution of immigrants and the levels of people’s concern. For example, immigration was regarded as a divisive issue by 19 per cent of people in the north-east of England and 20 per cent of people in Wales. In both areas a 2011 census showed that one in 20 people were born abroad. But in London, where one in three people are immigrants, the number of people who regarded immigration as divisive, still stood at 20 per cent.


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