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Last Updated: Monday, 4 February 2008, 11:30 GMT
Migrants' advice packs proposed
Ministers want to promote shared values among new arrivals
Immigrants should be told not to touch people without permission, spit in the street or play loud music, Communities Secretary Hazel Blears has said.

Ms Blears proposed that councils issue welcome packs to migrants explaining UK customs, including advice on queuing.

The government says it wants to help newcomers integrate into Britain.

Public funding should also be aimed at the whole community, not single ethnic groups, to "strengthen what we have in common", Ms Blears added.

The proposals are being introduced following the Commission on Integration and Cohesion, which held a 10-month review into the challenges caused of diversity.

'Legitimate and necessary'

Under the government's plans - which are being published for consultation - information packs produced by councils would suggest how immigrants could contribute to the economy and avoid community tensions.

This would include promoting shared values like respect for the law.

Don't drink and drive
Don't drop litter
Put bins out for collection on the correct day
Make sure children attend school
Get a licence before you go fishing
Don't touch people without their permission
Respect the law
Avoid spitting in the street
Don't play music loudly

According to new guidelines, bodies which distribute taxpayers' money to projects would have to consider whether they allow people from different backgrounds to integrate or whether they cause division.

Schemes such as separate youth clubs for black or Asian children could widen the gap between communities, ministers fear.

Ms Blears said that Britain had a proud tradition of welcoming new arrivals from overseas who come to the UK to work hard.

She added: "It is only right that we expect migrants to play by our rules. In return we have a role in explaining just what those rules are.

"Information packs are a way of getting that info across - providing a rough guide to the country, the county and the city and helping to ensure that new arrivals avoid doing or saying things that might upset local settled communities or getting into trouble with the law."

Amit Kapadia of the group HSMP Forum, which campaigns on behalf of skilled migrants, said he welcomed the introduction of the packs.

He added: "But this shouldn't just be targeted at one section of the community - as well as being an introduction to the UK, the packs can act as a reminder to people who are here already, like the Britishers."

Your comments:

A good idea to help integrate those wishing to come over to the UK to live and work. However, they will be led by example and so the pack should be sent to every household in the UK as a lot of British citizens need to be reminded about litter, drink/driving, spitting in the streets, respecting the law etc!
Veronica Everson, Ipswich Suffolk

Why should this just be for immigrants? This applies to everyone. Why can't we see a return to the public information campaigns of the 1970s - keep Britain tidy, etc.
Queenie Delores-Sant, Stockport

I think that we should worry about the people already here that don't follow those rules, without wasting money on teaching new people to this country what British people should act like. I see English people every day not following the law, spitting on the street, not sending children to school etc, etc. Waste of money until we follow the rules ourselves.
Stephen, Liverpool, UK

Excellent idea. How can we expect people to play by the rules if they don't know what they are?
C.Cooper, Northampton UK

It's a completely disgusting idea. There are more foreign tourists coming to the country every year. But they would never dare giving information packs to these people about not spitting in the street or not touching people, because it would be taken for what it was: patronising in the extreme...

The real implication is that immigrants are somehow less civilised people than tourists. And the implication is mainly a racist one...
Steve, London

I don't think the information pack would help much simply for the reason that people won't care about reading it. A better way of teaching community values to immigrants would be passing on the responsibility to local councils where a council officer can identify new immigrants and giving them a personal counselling and advice. Thanks
Felix Michael, Yeovil, Somerset.

Too little too late? When I go to other countries in the Middle East or Fast East, I have to abide by their local customs and show respect to the host countries. Foreigners must respect the locals in order to be welcomed. Why can't these people do the same? The problem with the UK is that you open your door too wide and too easy, without thinking and sufficient preparation. Now you suffer the consequences of offending and hurting the local folks. I pity the locals who have to put up with some bad behaviour which may be the "norms" of the new comers.
Dwight, Middlesex

I came to the UK almost four years ago from New Zealand. I think I would have been offended to get a pack that told me not to spit or to play music loudly as I would not have done this anyway. However, one of the things I did get from a recruitment agency was a useful booklet about living in the UK with helpful advice about things like how to register with a doctor, dentist, open a bank a/c etc. If things were couched positively rather than a list of don'ts such a pack could be useful for others from another country.
Joy Brodie, Dunfermline, Scotland

The advice pack will be of great help. Everything is difficult to get. The landlords ask for credit rating, the banks ask for proof of address, the telephone company asks for Bank Account and in all, you have a merry go round process. The packs will help at least for information. Despite the amount of money you come with, it is still difficult to integrate when there is not enough information.
Chuks, Manchester

As an immigrant in this country, I think it's a good idea to have those information packs and rules in place. No one can just disturb the general behaviour pattern of the country. These aren't offensive at all as far as locals are not doing it themselves and if told vice versa is considered offensive in any which ways.
Rohan G, london

It's a start but too little too late. We have a large migrant community already here that do not observe or respect UK customs. Becoming a UK resident should be a "prize" attained for wanting to live here as a UK citizen and contributing to the UK way of life. It shouldn't be a meal ticket.
Steve Clark, Wakefield West Yorkshire

When I moved to the UK from the US, some practical information would have been helpful - how the UK financial system differs from others, how the house buying process works here, how to write a UK-style CV. But the information suggested above - don't spit in the street, don't litter, be sure your kids attend school - is utterly patronising and frankly would be better directed at some of the born-and-bred British.
Heather, Glasgow

My good lady is Romanian, and she is shocked to see young ladies drunk and being sick in the street as in Romania this would result in being ostracized from their community. Perhaps we should have a pack saying simply, "Do not do what you see in England, do what you know is right."
Vin, Stratford

I find the idea quite patronising and would actually feel insulted if on arrival in this country I got handed an 'information pack' telling me that in this country it is frowned upon to spit on the pavement or play loud music and that it might be a good idea to find myself a job. These things should go without saying and suggesting that just because I'm foreign I have to be told about things like that is just rude. With regards to not touching people without permission, this could be misinterpreted, meaning that in emergency situations people might be prevented from helping because they don't want to cause offence by touching strangers. The whole idea is just ridiculous and I'd much rather my tax money was spent on something more sensible.
Bettina Adams, Peterhead, UK

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