Asians 'More Opposed to Immigration Than Whites'; Concern Crosses Race Boundaries

Article excerpt

Byline: Tim Shipman Deputy Political Editor

MORE Asians are opposed to immigration than white Britons, according to a poll.

One of the largest studies carried out on the subject found that 39 per cent of Asians, 34 per cent of whites and 21 per cent of blacks believe immigration should be halted either permanently or at least until the economy is back on track.

The findings are a stunning rebuke to the last Labour government, which opened the doors to untrammelled immigration and then sought to brand as 'bigots' those who questioned the pace of change.

The poll, carried out by Populus for the Searchlight Educational Trust, was based on 91 questions to more than 5,000 individuals.

The report, titled Fear and Hope: The New Politics Of Identity, reveals that a large proportion of voters across all races and communities have concerns about immigration.

Immigration is believed to have been on the whole a bad thing for Britain by 63 per cent of whites, 43 per cent of Asians and 17 per cent of black Britons.

The report also reveals that the failure of mainstream parties to speak out about immigration has opened the door for the possible emergence of a far Right party.

Almost half of those questioned, 48 per cent, were open to supporting such a new party as long as it avoided 'fascist imagery' and did not condone violence. And 52 per cent agreed that 'Muslims create problems in the UK'.

The survey found that attitudes to immigration were largely shaped by the respondents' level of economi c optimism.

Those who fear for their jobs and longterm economic well-being are more likely to be opposed to further immigration.

The Searchlight Educational Trust said the report 'throws down a challenge' to mainstream political parties to understand public attitudes better, warning that dangers lie ahead if these issues are not addressed.

The report's author, Nick Lowles, said young people are more open to living in an ethnically diverse society.

But in a clear warning to the political class, he added: 'This report gives those of us who are campaigning against extremism nowhere to hide. …