POLITICS

White Britons 'Feel More Out Of Touch' With Politics Than Ethnic Minorities Says Report

11/03/2013 07:16 GMT | Updated 11/03/2013 11:14 GMT

White Britons feel much more out of touch with politics than ethnic minorities, a report out on Monday has found.

The Community Life Survey by the think-tank Demos showed ethnic minorities believe they are more capable of influencing decisions in their local area and national politics than white Britons.

Asked whether they felt they had a say in community issues, 51% of ethnic minority Britons said they had some influence, compared to just 37% of white people.

And when asked about the national figure, the percentages were even lower. On UK-wide decisions, 39% of minorities felt they had influence, compared to only 19% of white people.

According to Demos, the latest data shows that while ethnic minorities feel more enfranchised with both local and national politics in recent years, the figures for white Britons remains unchanged.

David Goodhart, director of Demos, said: "There are several likely driving factors in this imbalance of perceived influence.

"First, some ethnic minority citizens will have direct or familial experience of real oppression in their countries of origin and are grateful for British freedoms.

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"It's also the case that many BME families have experienced high social mobility over just a few generations - giving them a real and justified confidence in the fairness of the British system.

"Finally, continued segregation does unfortunately mean that in a handful of areas with dense BME residence - Tower Hamlets, for example - particular minority groups have come to hold disproportionate political power."

Trevor Philips, former head of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, now chairing an inquiry into integration and segregation at Demos, said: "This is a reminder that even for disadvantaged communities, an open and democratic society is the great advantage of living in Britain.

"Minority citizens are reminding us that the right to participate is a precious privilege which we've tended to take for granted recently.

"Integration is a two-way street - perhaps there's a case for a kind of reverse convergence here and the majority could learn some lessons from the enthusiasm shown by minorities.

"But these figures also carry a warning - racial or religious concentrations in small areas could lead to the dominance of one group over others, or back-door deals between mainstream parties and community leaders.

"These are things we don't need to import from abroad - many migrants came here precisely to get away from the politics of ethnicity."