The All Party Group on Integration have produced their final report:
Ted Cantle writes:
There is no indication as to how the Government might respond to this new report if at all. It is already committed to responding to the Casey Review of Integration from last year and has failed to do so as yet – their response is expected in the Autumn.
The APPG report deserves to be read, it provides a number of good ideas, though it also proposes a number of impractical schemes and has some glaring omissions.
The APPG have certainly added to the debate and again reminded us of the need for proper integration planning – something that the UK has never introduced in over 60 years of multiculturalism. The assumption that integration would take place naturally over time has proved to be hopelessly optimistic and the ‘parallel lives’ I found in 2001 are still evident in many towns and cities.
The APPG report repeats the need to promote the use of the English language and suggests a compulsory system. I doubt this will happen and surely the simpler and fairer way is for employers to provide all new migrants with English language training as English must surely be essential for workplace communications – to follow instructions, for training, to understand health and safety notices etc.
The idea of migration levels being governed by new regional bodies is very unlikely to work. We do not have any regional tier of government in the UK and it would take years to create one even if it could be agreed. But the main problem is that they would have the right to determine the level of migration without any responsibility for providing new schools, more housing, improved roads and infrastructure and social and cultural facilities that inevitably go with an increase in the population. Integration is about much more than job planning
The report also bemoans the problem of school and other segregation but does not put forward a single recommendation about how to respond to it. They also again, tend to focus on minorities, rather than recognise that it is the majority community that has most difficulty in coming to terms with change. There is also very little on the problem that took immigration to the top of the political agenda and precipitated the ‘Brexit’ leave vote: the perceived threat to the majority cultural identity.
The introduction of local integration plans for every town and city, supported by a programme of community cohesion would have most effect, but this also needs to be backed by resources – more housing, schools, transport and other infrastructure – to respond to the increase in population and; the introduction of a new intercultural agenda. It remains to be seen whether the Government will grasp the nettle when they respond to the Casey review.