New UK Citizenship Test To Emphasise 'British Values And Principles' Says Home Office

The Government has unveiled changes to the test taken by foreign nationals who wish to become UK citizens to place greater focus on the "values and principles at the heart of being British".

The revised Life in the UK test, set to be introduced in March, will cover events and people "who have contributed to making Britain great", the Home Office said.

Immigrants will be quizzed on a range of topics, including sport, music and key historical facts, as part of the overhaul designed to focus less on the practicalities of daily living in Britain and more on the nation's culture and past.

A new handbook will go on sale tomorrow and form the basis of the modified 45-minute exam all aspiring British citizens must pass.

Immigration minister Mark Harper said: "We've stripped out mundane information about water meters, how to find train timetables, and using the internet.

"The new book rightly focuses on values and principles at the heart of being British. Instead of telling people how to claim benefits it encourages participation in British life.

"This is just part of our work to help ensure migrants are ready and able to integrate into British society and forms part of our changes which have broken the automatic link between temporary and permanent migration.

"We have made radical changes to the immigration system and are determined to reduce net migration from the hundreds of thousands into the tens of thousands by the end of the Parliament."

The test will cover some of Britain's most celebrated writers, scientists and politicians, from William Shakespeare and Robert Burns to Isaac Newton and Winston Churchill.

Immigrants will be expected to know British history stretching back to the Stone Age, through to the Romans, Norman Conquest and the Magna Carta, the Home Office said.

Sporting knowledge, including questions on the London 2012 Olympics, will also be included.

The handbook features "an exploration of Britons' unique sense of humour and satire", the Home Office said, and highlights the natural beauty of the country's National Parks and countryside.

Knowledge of British cultural and artistic heritage will be tested, from the music of composer Henry Purcell to the worldwide influence of the Beatles and Andrew Lloyd Webber.

Foreign nationals will be asked about the nation's artistic achievements, Britain's love of gardening and garden design and the work of influential architects including Christopher Wren and Norman Foster.

References to literary masterpieces by poets and authors such as Geoffrey Chaucer, Jane Austen and Wilfred Owen are also included in the handbook.

More than 150,000 Life in the UK tests were taken nationally last year, including 77,000 tests in London.

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