[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Thursday, 14 June 2007, 19:20 GMT 20:20 UK
Measures urged on migrant 'fears'
A crowded London street
Britain faces "challenges" over increasing diversity
Councils should identify places where mass immigration may unsettle the local community, a report has said.

The Commission on Integration and Cohesion also suggests ways of handling potential problems to the government.

These include cultural briefing packs - giving tips on acceptable behaviour - and specialist integration teams to support areas experiencing strain.

The report also warns that "diversity can have a negative impact, but only in particular circumstances".

It also recommends ending funding for single-issue groups that cannot show they benefit the wider community.

'Cause for alarm'

The proposed packs are based on work by some councils to explain basic facts about British ways of life to newly-arrived migrants.

"The packs might say that we like to queue at the Post Office and the bus stop and we don't really like spitting in the street," said a spokesman.

We have to recognise that there are communities who are experiencing migration in a way they haven't before and that can be unsettling
Darra Singh, Commission on Integration and Cohesion

The commission found that areas which have never before experienced mass migration are on a frontline of change, such as rural areas which have seen the arrival of immigrant farm workers.

Despite these warnings, commission chair Darra Singh said that, while tensions do exist, the UK remains predominantly united.

Research conducted by the commission found three-quarters of those questioned said they preferred to live in ethnically-mixed neighbourhoods.

The commission also recommends:

  • Specialist integration teams from government to support areas experiencing strain
  • Cutting public body translation budgets to reinvest in English classes
  • Forcing big businesses which benefit from foreign workers to pay towards English lessons
  • "Contracts" between local areas and newly arriving immigrants setting out what is expected of them

Mr Singh said: "We have to recognise that there are communities who are experiencing migration in a way they haven't before and that can be unsettling.

"Whilst there is no cause for alarm, there is a clear case for action."

Migrant increase

Mr Singh called for special work at local level to predict how areas are changing so councils can develop tailored policies to help people get on.

HAVE YOUR SAY
There is an awful lot the indigenous population can learn from these new communities
Zak Kahn, Glasgow

Ministers will respond in full to the report in the autumn, but Communities Secretary Ruth Kelly said it "raises some important questions for central government".

She said: "It is only by facing these issues head-on, that we can continue to benefit from migration and diversity, while maintaining the common bonds that tie us all together."

Professor Ted Cantle, who led the government inquiry into the riots in Bradford, Oldham and Burnley in 2001, said that there has been a big increase in the number of migrants.

He added: "Some of these have given rise to tensions - but for the most part, of course, they have boosted the economy, they have contributed in ways that have been probably quite helpful to local firms and industry and not necessarily contributed to tension."




VOTE RESULTS
Will cultural briefing packs help to promote integration?
Yes
 13.45% 
No
 78.47% 
Not sure
 8.08% 
6359 Votes Cast
Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion
VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Britons voice concern about migration



SEE ALSO
Analysis: The UK's ties that bind
24 Aug 06 |  UK Politics

RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites



FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific