A strong majority of Brits think immigration has divided communities, particularly in areas most affected by mass arrivals, polling by a left-wing group has found.
The study, by the think tank Demos, also found that large numbers of people believe the government should be working to preserve traditional ways of life in a time of globalisation and deep economic change.
In one of the most unified responses to a question, 71 per cent said immigration has “made the communities where migrants have settled more divided”, with the number rising to 78 per cent in areas hit by large-scale migration in recent years.
The number was more than four-fifths, or 81 per cent, amongst Conservative voters.
From focus groups and their polling, authors concluded that most people thought immigration had had negative effects and “the nation’s cultures and traditions are not being sufficiently defended and promoted”.
A large number of Brits are also “particularly incensed by cultural pluralism, seen to be favoured over British values and traditions, and political correctness, regarded as taxing and repressive”.
71% of Brits believe the sense of community in their area has deteriorated over their lifetimes.
— Demos (@Demos) May 30, 2018
According to their polling, more than half, 55 per cent, believe that jobs were more accessible in the past, 71 per cent believe their communities have been eroded in their lifetimes, and 63 per cent said that the UK’s world status has declined.
A further 63 per cent believe life was better when they were growing up, compared to 21 per cent who believe it is better now. Despite this, the British were less nostalgic and more optimistic than the French and Germans.
“Despite the widespread critiques of contemporary British society, and anxieties about the future, many citizens remain both resilient and begrudgingly optimistic – a point that sets them apart from participants in our French and German focus groups,” the report authors write.
In the face of change, around of half of the respondents said the government should balance protecting existing jobs and traditional ways of life with keeping business competitive and up-to-date with the times, the polling also revealed.
Overall, fractionally more regard immigration as bad than good, with 43 per cent calling its effects positive and 44 per cent believing it has been a negative development for the nation.
The authors add: “Only three issues appear to truly unite the nation – the belief that the country is in a state of decline and that further change lies on the horizon, feeling that immigration has negatively impacted British society, and believing the nation’s cultures and traditions are not being sufficiently defended and promoted.”