Headlines: January 30th, 2009

Three quarters of people feel a strong sense of belonging to their neighbourhood and even more are satisfied with their local area as a place to live. These are among the key findings of the Citizenship Survey but it also discovered people were less happy about their lack of influence on local decisions.

The results of the survey showed that 82 per cent of respondents saw their community as cohesive. Older people were more likely to be satisfied with their local area than younger people with almost nine out of ten people over 75 giving a positive answer. The results, though, were much less positive on the question of local people feeling their voices were being heard at a local level. Fewer than 40 per cent said they were able to influence decisions in their local area.

The Cohesion Minister, Sadiq Khan said Britain had a proud history of people from different backgrounds living side by side and the results showed there were still more factors uniting people than dividing them. He said, however, that this should not be taken for granted and added, “We need to ensure that Britain continues to be a place where people are proud to live and everyone can succeed. That means building on what we have already done to deliver equal opportunities and racial equality.”

The Minister said the issue of people’s voices being heard had to be addressed and the Government was taking steps to give people more power to have a greater say in the way that local decisions affecting them were made.

The survey is the biggest of its kind in the country and every year almost 15,000 people are asked about community cohesion, discrimination, values, civic engagement and interaction. It is one of the key tools the Government uses to measure the impact of policies.