The backdrop to scepticism and concerns about migration
Poverty, austerity, insecure labour markets, deindustrialisation, declining town centres and a paucity of community spaces are often the backdrop to scepticism and concerns about migration locally
The Hopeful Towns report is an important read for those interested in understanding the complexities of integration in Britain’s towns and how all communities can be supported to thrive in times of change. The analysis presented in the report chimes with work undertaken by IPPR and sets out a blueprint for developing networks that can share challenges, lessons and ideas for greater community cohesion.
The recent Communities up Close report from IPPR and Migration Yorkshire shared the findings of a two-year research project that sought to understand how ten areas across the Yorkshire and Humber region have experienced and responded to neighbourhood change and migration in recent years. Researchers developed a neighbourhood typology that identified five different types of places, categorised according to how those places respond to changing levels of migration.
Six of the ten research sites were in towns, and all of these were categorised as one of either ‘Dynamic Districts’ or ‘Tight-Knit Towns’. As shown in the ‘migration in the community’ factor in the Hopeful Towns analysis, these were areas that were generally less diverse overall but which had experienced greater migration in recent years. Both of these types of areas have experienced quite significant challenges, both economically and in terms of integration. Poverty, austerity, insecure labour markets, deindustrialisation, declining town centres and a paucity of community spaces were often the backdrop to scepticism and concerns about migration locally.
The Towns Index developed by Hope Not Hate charitable trust is a welcome addition in the efforts to greater understand the specific issues that coalesce to shape negative responses to migration locally. It points to the need for local leadership and partnership working to address issues on the ground, but also to the need for macro-level policies that address community tensions through greater economic and social security for all.
Lucy Mort is a Research Fellow at IPPR