29 Sep 2014
Opposition to immigration in England and Wales, at around 80 per cent, is high by both international and historical standards – it regularly tops surveys as the political issue respondents are most concerned about. It is partly this concern which explains the success of parties like UKIP, and the BNP before them. While opposition cuts across ethnic lines, levels are highest among the white British majority. But what is driving this opposition, how else does it manifest itself and what can be done to remedy it? To find out, Changing Places takes as its subject the white British majority, seeking to understand their attitudes and motivations as regards immigration, integration and ethnic diversity. Drawing on original quantitative analysis of several large datasets, including the Citizenship Surveys, Understanding Society, the British Household Panel Survey, the ONS Longitudinal Study and the 2011 Census, it investigates attitudes, residency patterns and voting behaviour to build up a picture of the white British response to ethnic change. The report includes a number of findings: chief among them being that white British opposition to immigration is lower in locales with more minorities and immigrants; and that while white British people have left diverse areas, this is not due to discomfort or even racism on their behalf. It then draws on these findings to make recommendations on planning, housing and refugee dispersal, with the end of building a more integrated society.