Headlines: January 18th, 2008

Some 80 per cent of people mixed socially with people from different ethnic or religious groups at least once a month either at work, at a place of education, through a leisure activity, at a place of worship, at the shops or through volunteering. In the over 75 age group this perception of cohesion was 91 per cent, but for the under 34s it was only 77 per cent.

This is a key finding from a face to face household survey carried out by Communities and Local Government covering a representative sample of almost 15,000 adults in England and Wales. The survey asked for views on issues around community cohesion, discrimination, values, civic engagement and interaction.

The survey also revealed that ‘respect for the law’ and ‘tolerance and politeness towards others’ were rated highly and respect for all faiths was the value most prized by Pakistani people who rated it as their top value. Bangladeshi and Indian people rated it as the second most important value for living in Britain

Over half of all people feel that there is now more racial prejudice in Britain than five years ago, but there is a wide difference in view between minority ethnic groups where only 32 per cent believe that prejudice has increase compared to white people where 58 per cent believe it has increased. The proportion of people from minority ethnic groups who feel that they would be treated worse than other races by at least one in eight public service organisations has fallen to 34 per cent compared to 38 per cent in 2001. The proportions of people from minority ethnic groups thinking the police, prison service, courts and Crown Prosecution Service would treat them worse than other races have all decreased since 2001.

The percentage of people feeling a strong sense of belonging to Britain is now at 84 per cent and those feeling a strong sense of belonging to their neighbourhood has increased to 75 per cent. Perceptions of cohesion in terms of people agreeing that their local area is a place where people from different backgrounds get on well together have also risen from 80 per cent in 2005 to 82 per cent.