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Britons anxious over immigration

British people welcome the cultural changes brought about by immigration but are in a state of "deep economic anxiety" as they believe it has had a negative impact on the supply of housing, jobs, schools and hospitals, according to a poll.

The study by The Observer found modern Britain to be hopeful and at ease with itself but also worried about the bleak economic outlook and its consequences.

Other concerns that emerged included a perception of worsening crime rates being heavily blamed on an influx of immigrants in recent decades.

The results revealed that while British people are less positive about immigrants in relation to the economy, they welcome cultural changes brought about by immigration, with people believing it has positively contributed to entrepreneurship, film, music, fashion and design.

There was overwhelming agreement across the country that immigration has been good for domestic cuisine, with 68% saying that it has been changed for the better.

The poll found three out of five Britons now thought former Tory minister Norman Tebbit's "cricket test", proposed in 1990, in which the loyalty of immigrants is judged by which national sports teams they support, is outdated. Fifteen per cent believe it is important for immigrants to support home teams over their countries of origin, while 50% of people believe the children of immigrants born in the UK should be free to support the teams of their parents' country of birth.

Around half of people questioned believe the government should encourage parents to put their children in ethnically diverse schools, with black and Asian people feeling this most strongly (60%), but the report points out that the "large white majority don't lag far behind"(51%).

The report also found that British people regard rising prices as the biggest threat to the country's well-being in 2012 and believe the Queen's Jubilee celebrations will lift the nation's spirits more than the Olympics.

The findings touch on the class system in modern Britain, attitudes towards Scottish independence and changes in the country since it last held the Olympic games in 1948. There is strong Scottish national pride, but Scots are as keen to stay in the Union as the English and Welsh are to keep them while it turns out to be the Geordies, not the Scots or Welsh, who feel least British.

A striking north-south divide emerges over whether class has become less important in Britain since 1948, with over 40% of Londoners confident that class matters less in comparison to 29% who disagree, and in the north 35% think it matters less compared to 41% who disagree.


From Belfast Telegraph