White and mainly Muslim minority groups are now more isolated from each other than ever before – while white populations in towns and cities have sunk to record lows – now less than 50% in the last decade alone, it has been revealed.
UK Express In Newham, east London, just 16 per cent of the population are white compared to 33 per cent 10 years ago.
And Blackburn has ranked as one of the most segregated town in Britain, where in the Whalley Range area 95 per cent of people are Muslim and a local butcher has admitted he has never served a white person in the whole of his time there.
Mohammed Tabrez Noorji, who opened his halal butcher shop last year, said: “I do sometimes speak to the white people when they walk past but there is nothing for them to buy here. “It is not good that we all live separately but how can we fix this problem? Muslim families like to live in the same area as each other so we can support one another, but then the white people move out.
“It’s not that we deliberately choose to live separately – it is just what happens. We want to live in this area because we are close to the mosques and all our families are very close to each other.” And experts warn matters will increase in the same direction.
Academic Ted Cantle, a Government advisor on community adhesion, has warned the 2021 census will reveal polarisation has got even greater. The research, published by Open Democracy, calls on the Government to do more to promote mixed communities.
The calls have been made particularly relevant in light of the spike in hate crime reported since the Brexit referendum on June 23. But not everyone wants ‘community adhesion’ to be encouraged.
Retired taxi driver Ian Goodliffe, who previously worked at a ‘white only’ taxi firm, said: “There are certain areas where white people no longer go and the same for Muslims. They lead very separate lives. “There is an element of fear on both sides and then there is of course this awful racism. I hear it all the time.
“It is sometimes a gang mentality and everyone wants to stick to their own. There are whole parts of Blackburn where a white person would not buy a house but then there is the same for the Muslims. “There is a mutual distrust and the only way to change that is for people to mix, but we are at a total impasse and it is only going to get worse.”
Professor Cantle also said he met a Yorkshireman who said he was the first Muslim to move into a street and within three years all the white families had gone. He said: “Some of those families made no bones about it – they are moving out because ‘they’ are moving in.”
The study, conducted by integration experts Professor Cantle and Professor Eric Kaufman, has revealed that white and minority groups are now more isolated from each other than ever before – even though England as a whole is more ethnically mixed.
Polarization mainly occurs in urban areas, with some places in the UK seeing a decrease in the white population of more than 50 per cent between 1991 and 2011. Towns and cities, such as Birmingham, Leicester, Slough, Luton, Bradford and London have seen the “striking” decrease occur more rapidly than other parts of the UK, it has been claimed.
Professor Cantle said: “The focus of policy needs to shift, this is not just about minorities. “Politicians and policy-makers need to encourage white British residents to remain in diverse areas.
“To choose, rather than avoid, diverse areas when they do re-locate, encouraging similar choices with respect to placing pupils in diverse schools. “In other words to create a positive choice for mixed areas and a shared society.” The study comes as the Government is about to deliver a major review into integration, segregation and extremism.
Labour’s Chuka Umunna, chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Social Integration, said: “During a year in which our country has seemed more divided than at any point in modern history, there are few questions which require investigation more urgently than the matter of how well we are living together.
“Equally, however – at a time in which our political debate has become yet more polarized and media headlines yet more fraught – there are few questions which it can seem harder to get to the bottom of. “It’s clear that, whilst the UK is becoming increasingly diverse, levels of integration are not keeping pace.”