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Last Updated: Thursday, 6 March 2008, 11:14 GMT
White Season

Many white working class people believe immigration threatens jobs

A majority of white working class Britons feel nobody speaks for people like them, a BBC survey has suggested.

Some 58% said they felt unrepresented compared with 46% of white middle class respondents to a Newsnight poll.

White working classes were also negative about the past decade with 62% saying life had generally become worse in the UK.

In response to BBC Two's White Season, a special Newsnight on 6 March will feature full poll results and debate.


The researchers defined the middle classes as the ABC1 category of occupations - senior professionals, office workers and junior managers - while the working class was defined as the C2DE grades - skilled manual workers, semi and unskilled workers, and people on benefits.

In most areas covered by the survey the white working classes are more pessimistic about the future and more negative about the last decade in Britain than white middle class people.

White Briton poll details

Of the working class people questioned 71% believe crime has got worse over the last decade, compared with 66% of middle class people.

On housing, 80% of the working class say that people like them can no longer afford to buy homes in the area they live. A smaller majority - 68% - of middle class people believed they had been priced out of the local housing market.

Overall 62% of the white working classes believe that life in Britain has generally got worse over the last decade compared with 51% of middle class white people.

Jobs risk

When asked whether they thought immigration into Britain, on the whole, was a good or bad thing for the country the survey suggests that opinion was divided between people from different social groups.

Some 52% of the white working class people questioned thought immigration was a bad thing (42% thought it was a good thing), while just 33% of white middle class people thought it bad (62% thought it a good thing).

When asked whether they thought new immigrants had put their jobs at risk the survey suggests that more than twice as many white working class people (27%) compared with middle class (13%) people thought it had.

Populus interviewed a random sample of 1,012 white British adults aged 18+ by telephone between 29th February and 2nd March 2008.

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