The Government has called on people to come together and play their full part in local communities. A new ‘localist’ approach to achieving a more integrated society focusing on creating the conditions for everyone to live and work successfully alongside each other was today unveiled by Secretary of State Eric Pickles and Communities Minister Andrew Stunell.
The paper demonstrates how the Coalition Government is moving away from a Whitehall-dictated approach and, because communities know their own local areas best, instead encourages collective action which:
- emphasises and celebrates what we have in common rather than our differences - by supporting projects such as the Big Lunch and the planned Diamond Jubilee celebrations
- promotes the responsibilities we have to each other and to society - through programmes such as National Citizen Service, Youth United and A Year of Service
- enables people to realise their potential to get on in life - by increasing opportunities and tackling persistent inequalities in access to training, jobs, education and business finance
- gives people of all backgrounds the opportunities to play an active part, be heard and take decisions - including new provisions in the Localism Act 2011 to put neighbourhoods in control
- ensures that intolerance is robustly challenged and extremist views and behaviour marginalised by improving the recording of hate crime including against the Muslim and Jewish communities.
While Government has an important role to play, this new approach is based on a conviction that the challenges facing local communities today are too complex to be tackled simply by blanket solutions - or by singling out specific groups for special treatment. An integrated society is vital to building strong , prosperous sustainable communities.
The paper argues that Britain, with its proud history of migration and tolerance, is well placed to meet the challenges of integration. And with the unprecedented pace of change in our communities over the past decade we must now more than ever robustly protect and promote our core values such as democracy, the rule of law, equality of opportunity and freedom of speech.
Secretary of State Eric Pickles said:
We are rightly proud of our strong history of successful integration and the benefits that it’s brought. Britain is a place where the vast majority of people from all walks of life get on well with each other. Events such as the Royal Wedding and the Big Lunch show that community spirit is thriving. I welcome the contribution of everyone but those who advocate separate lives are wrong. It is time to concentrate on the things that unite the British people.
Communities Minister Andrew Stunell said:
We have many balanced and successful communities but we know this is not the case everywhere and there are still enduring problems in many neighbourhoods. The Coalition is determined to give everyone the ability and aspiration to prosper, breaking down barriers to social mobility. Every community is different and we need local diversity, not central prescription if we are to grow prosperous and productive communities.
Notes to editors
- Creating the Conditions for Integration is available at: www.communities.gov.uk/publications/communities/integration.
2. The Department for Communities will lead on integration but the following Departments will also have an important contribution to make: Home Office/UK Border Agency, Department for Education, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, Department for Work and Pensions, Office for Civil Society within the Cabinet Office.
3. Departments’ mainstream services will make the most impact on integration, rather than any specific new integration activity. For example, the most important actions on social mobility will be those already set out in the Social Mobility Strategy.
4. For more information on National Citizen Service, Youth United and A Year of Service see https://nationalcitizenservice.direct.gov.uk (external link), www.youthunited.org.uk (external link) and http://yearofservice.org.uk (external link).
5. The Secretary today spoke at the launch of the MAMA (Measuring Anti-Muslim Attacks) project. Developed by Faith Matters, the project will collate and analyse anti-Muslim incidents in England and provide a mechanism to offer support to victims. This project will contribute to the improvement of our own evidence and understanding of Anti-Muslim Attacks, and build confidence in the Muslim community that action is being taken.
6. The paper covers England only.
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