‘Integration action plan must not be squeezed out by competing pressures of Brexit’

Posted on 9 February 2019

British Future today welcomed the publication of the Government’s new Integrated Communities Action plan, urging MHCLG to ensure its plans are carried through and not squeezed out by competing pressures of Brexit. It further warned that business must step up and do more to promote integration in the workplace.

Jill Rutter, Director of Strategy for thinktank British Future, said:

“For too long, integration has been treated as a second-order issue, of interest to policy-makers only when things very visibly go wrong. The new Action Plan is a welcome milestone, committing the Government to step up and help improve integration in the places where people live.

“If the Government delivers on these plans it will have a real and beneficial impact, increasing social contact between different groups and helping migrant workers and refugees learn English.

“The challenge now is to make sure that integration is not squeezed out by competing pressures on the Government. In a country that is more divided than most of us would like, that must not be allowed to happen.

“It is good to see renewed focus on English language and the integration of refugees but what’s largely missing is recognition of the role that work can play in integration. Business should be much more involved on this issue. Proposals to reduce unemployment among certain migrant groups, particularly refugees, are good news – but we can still do more to promote the workplace as a centre of social contact. Where migrants largely work with other migrants it will have little impact on integration.”

In 2018 British Future coordinated the National Conversation on Immigration, the biggest-ever public consultation on immigration an integration, together with Hope not hate and in partnership with the Home Affairs Committee. As part of that research ICM polling found that:

 

  • 74% of the public agrees that “If businesses employ lots of migrant workers they should be required to take more responsibility for integration, such as making sure there are English language classes and enough housing.

 

  • 65% of the public agrees that “The Government should provide English lessons for those that need them.”

 

  • 66% of the public agrees that “Schools should make sure that pupils get the opportunity to meet children from different backgrounds.”

 

  • 70% of the public agrees that “When people come to the UK seeking asylum it is important that they integrate, learning English and getting to know people. It would help integration if asylum-seekers were allowed to work if their claim takes more than six months to process.”

 

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