Migration Has Hit Our Sense of Identity

Immigrants are diluting the nation’s identity and threatening jobs, say six out of 10 young people.

A fifth say the increased diversity of religions is damaging nationality identity while only one in four think the Government will be able to manage migration in the next few years.

The next generation believes our sense of belonging is now “under ambush” and new arrivals must respect the traditions and religion of the host nation, according to the survey out yesterday.

Migrants must also learn English and have a regular job, most youngsters say.

The survey by the British Council, a Government-backed body which promotes the UK abroad, shows Britons of all ages are now concerned about immigration and sends a stark message to Downing Street.

Sir Andrew Green, chairman of MigrationwatchUK, said: “This is extremely clear evidence that immigration is not just a concern for the older generation. A high proportion of young people share this central concern.”

Dominic Grieve, Shadow Home Secretary, said: “This is more evidence of the concern about uncontrolled immigration across the age spectrum.

“This is why the country is in desperate need of a proper population policy that will benefit Britain and all who live in and come to live in Britain.”

Some 65 per cent said national identity has weakened in the last five or six years, including a quarter who said it had deteriorated a lot.

Some 60 per cent of those asked blamed immigration for the dilution, 18 per cent said diverse religions and 23 per cent blamed the quality of politicians.

The report, Identities In Transit, said: “The British sense of identity may be defined, to all intents and purposes, as an identity under ambush.”

A quarter of those asked fear immigrants reduce job opportunities of native workers, while almost one in five say they endanger “ethnic, cultural and religious homogeneity”.

Some 75 per cent said new migrants should have respect for the traditions and the religion of the host country, and 71 per cent say being fluent in the language is vital.

More than half (53 per cent) called for a regular job.

Comparing Britain with Italy, which it also surveyed, the report added: “The British, give relatively more importance to the fact that newcomers should be prepared to sacrifice certain aspects of their own culture or religion.”

MPs Frank Field and Nicholas Soames, co-chairmen of the new all-party group on immigration, welcomed the report.

They said: “This shows very clearly indeed that it is by no means only the older generation who are concerned about the impact of very large scale immigration on our national identity and on their employment prospects.

“These are two good reasons for balanced migration, bringing immigration down to the level of emigration.”

One in five local authorities has seen population rise by more than 10 per cent in the last decade with immigration the biggest cause, according to a study by Halifax Financial Services.

The population in some parts of London has soared by 40 per cent, increasing pressure on housing.