A think tank has called on the government to do more to integrate ethnic communities following publication of a report showing that poor Muslim areas are among the most segregated in Britain. But a UK Independence Party MEP said the results proved multiculturalism had failed thanks to some ethnic groups, most notably Pakistani Muslims, who showed “total disregard for the law”.
Examining all towns and cities with a population larger than 20,000, and where at least 15 percent of the population were ethnic minorities, Policy Exchange has ranked the areas according to what extent different groups lived and worked alongside one another, and how the different communities felt about one another.
It found that two main regions accounted for the majority of segregated areas: the post-industrial communities of Yorkshire and Lancashire “dominated” by “mainly Pakistani” communities, and Eastern English towns which have experienced “large inflows” of Eastern European immigrants.
In addition, the authors noted that England and Wales’ least residentially integrated regions tend to be poor areas with a largely Muslim population. Boston in Lincolnshire, Wisbech in Cambridgeshire and Oldham in Manchester were ranked the top three least integrated areas in the UK.
By contrast, the most integrated places – Amersham in Buckinghamshire, Sutton Coldfield in the West Midlands and Loughton in Essex took the top three spots – are characterised as prosperous suburbs of major cities such as London and Birmingham. Wealthy Indians and Europeans were the most successfully integrated ethnicities.
Overall, the most integrated places tend not to have one large minority group but instead are a melting-point of ethnicities. By contrast, the least integrated places “invariably” have a single group making up two thirds of the minority population, the authors said.
David Goodhart, Head of Policy Exchange’s new Demography, Immigration and Integration Unit, has argued that the results showed a need for British people and government to do more to promote “openness”, despite concerns from local populations that their region is already changing too fast.
“We know that people of similar backgrounds tend to cluster together but we also know that a good society needs a sense of trust and mutual regard that crosses social and ethnic boundaries,” he said.
“It is critical that this country retains its traditions of openness and individual rights and some sense of mutual regard between citizens. That is why the government should try to promote mixed communities.”
But UKIP MEP for Yorkshire, Jane Collins, said that it was “no surprise” that Yorkshire communities in particular showed high levels of segregation, given that Muslim communities in the region have shown a complete lack of willingness to integrate.
“Given the total disregard for the law shown by some sections of these communities and the revelations of ongoing sexual abuse by Pakistani gangs on young white girls, we shouldn’t be surprised that there are serious problem in some of our towns and communities,” she said.
“Only yesterday we heard from Trevor Phillips who said that Muslim communities did not integrate unlike other groups including Afro-Caribbeans, Sikhs and Indians.
“There are parts of [Bradford] that are no go areas for non-Muslims. In England, that is unacceptable.
She continued: “One former resident I recently spoke to described how his wife could not get served in some shops; was verbally abused and spat at in the street while living in the same area as the Bradford riots took place.
“My experience campaigning in Rotherham and Yorkshire as a whole, has made it crystal clear that some communities think of themselves as separate: that’s why they did not tell the authorities about the ongoing child sexual abuse, instead choosing to keep silent.
“The only way to bring about an end to this is to jack in the policy of multiculturalism and make people who live in Britain live under our laws and integrate into our society.”