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The British Integration Survey lays bare the lack of interaction that we are seeing across all areas.

Oliver Lee OBE, CEO of The Challenge
06.06.2019

The Challenge calls on new prime minister to commit to healing country’s divides

The Challenge is calling for the next prime minister to commit to fully backing social integration at all levels as the way of healing divides in the wake of Brexit.

Dangerous and deeper divisions

  • New report shows 44 per cent of Brits have no friends from a different ethnic background to them and one in five have no friends from a different class background to them.
  • British Integration Survey ‘looks under the bonnet of British society’ and gives an indication of actual interactions on a day-to-day level.

Oliver Lee OBE, chief executive of The Challenge, says the country risks being thrown into dangerous and deeper divisions unless the next premier puts social integration at the top of the political agenda.

“Our country is becoming more divided and our political leaders have to look at what they can do to heal the divisions that are rife in our country. Social segregation is a major factor in causing some of the most serious problems in our society. That’s why I’m calling on the next prime minister, whoever that may be, to get serious about social integration and make a solid commitment for it to be at the forefront of government policy.”

Oliver Lee OBE, CEO of The Challenge

His comments come on the same day as the charity published a report that reveals 44% of Brits have no contact with people from a different ethnicity to them and that one in five has no contact with people from a different class. The survey shows that people with less diverse social networks were significantly less likely to think positively or sympathetically about different groups in society.

The British Integration Survey also shows that:

  • 72% of people who reported having no close contacts from a different socio-economic background also had no ethnic diversity in their friendship circle;
  • The youngest and oldest groups of people continue to have the least to do with one another – less than 10% of the closest contacts for people aged 55 and above were under 18;
  • Nine out of ten white British people say that all or most of their social contacts are also white;
  • 25% of respondents who placed themselves at the top of the social ladder have no contacts on a different part of the social ladder;
  • People with no contacts from different socioeconomic backgrounds were 42% less likely than those who did to think that it is difficult for those at the bottom of society to do well.

“Brexit has thrown into question the way we see ourselves, our closest family members and friends, and our communities. The British Integration Survey lays bare the lack of interaction that we are seeing across all areas and now, more than ever, it’s vital we make continued, proactive efforts to bring people together to build a more integrated society. Integration is a two-way street: it’s not up to one group of people over another to take the lead on this – we all have our part to play and now’s the time to do that.”

Oliver Lee OBE, CEO of The Challenge

The survey provides a snapshot into how much people in Britain socialise and interact across a range of differences such as ethnicity, class, education and age, and also asks about people attitudes towards different groups in society. The survey asked people aged from 13 to 65+ questions about the five closest contacts in their life, their wider social network, society in general as well as their perceived social standing on a ‘ladder’ representing British society.