Promote 'British values' to boost social integration - report
Government policies have failed to marry social integration with the “unprecedented pace and scale of recent immigration", a major report has found.
Dame Louise Casey’s study in to community cohesion in the UK dismissed efforts to bridge divisions between communities to “saris, samosas and steel drums for the already well-intentioned” which did not take on the "difficult issues".
It suggested that in the last 15 years too many politicians and religious figures were “worrying about being labelled racist”, adding that the "wedge" between groups has helped foster extremist views in some Muslim communities.
The review - which was commissioned by David Cameron in July 2015 - identified education as one of the drivers of separation between communities.
To increase integration Dame Louise suggested that schools should work together to ensure that "different communities learn alongside those from different backgrounds”.
But the review added that "more weight should be attached to British values" in the national curriculum and called for an “integration oath” for new immigrants to embrace those values.
Other recommendations included a focus on promoting English language skills, encouraging social mixing among young people, and securing “women’s emancipation in communities where they are being held back”.
Dame Louise warned that there had been a failure to call out “deeply regressive religious and cultural practices, especially when it comes to women” in some ethnic minority communities in the UK.
Citing evidence from some predominantly Muslim areas, the report said “far too many women... are suffering from the effects of misogyny and domestic abuse”.
“Often, the victims are foreign-born brides brought to Britain via arranged marriages. They have poor English, little education, low confidence, and are reliant on their husbands for their income and immigration status.”
“They don’t know about their rights, or how to access support, and struggle to prepare their children effectively for school.”
Dame Louise also called out a “vicious circle” in which Muslims felt they were being blamed for terrorism and extremism which led to a feeling of hostility.
The report said there was a need for “more of a spirit of unity, compassion and kindness that brings people together under our common British values of tolerance, democracy, equality and respect".
'STAND UP AND BE MORE ROBUST'
The study added that the headline net migration figure, which currently stands at 335,000 a year, "disguised" the fact that one million people arrive or leave a year.
It said: "While diversity makes our nation economically and culturally richer, it is important to acknowledge the impact of the unprecedented pace and scale of recent immigration on communities.”
The review found: “For generations we have welcomed immigrants to the UK but left them to find their own way in society, while leaving host communities to accommodate them.
“As some communities have become more segregated, the increased pace of immigration has added new pressures, leaving long-standing communities struggling to adjust.
“Too few leaders in public office have dealt with this key issue, perhaps hoping it might change or worrying about being labelled racist; or indeed fearing that they will lose the support of minority communities.
“As a nation we have lost sight of our expectations on integration and lacked confidence in promoting it.”
It added: “We need leaders at all levels – in Government, in public sector and faith institutions, and in communities – to stand up and be more robust”.