Boston is featured in a parliamentary report that says immigrants and members of the settled community are leading parallel lives.
Borough council leader Peter Bedford is in London for the launch of the interim report published by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Social Integration.
Among key findings of the group, chaired by MP Chuka Umunna, is that “the UK does not have an overarching national policy framework for the integration of immigrants” – and the MP says national and local goverment cannot stand by while our communities “fragment”.
Mr Umunna came to Boston last year and listened to local people’s views.
He says in the report: “Very few of the individuals we have met during visits to Boston in Lincolnshire and Halifax in Yorkshire were hostile to immigration.
“Indeed, most shared the view that it has been fantastic for our economy and for the cultural life of our country.
“It is clear, however, that demographic and cultural change has threatened people’s sense of security, identity and belonging within their communities and – in some instances – put pressure on local public services.”
Mr Umunna says: “We must confront the fact that immigrant communities and members of the settled population in some parts of modern Britain are leading parallel rather than interconnected lives.”
He continues: “We are of the view that Government – national, regional and local – cannot stand by whilst our communities fragment in this way.
“Why? Because it has left a vacuum for extremists and peddlers of hate on all sides to exploit.
“It deprives people of jobs and opportunities and increases isolation, ill health and anxiety. It reduces social mobility.
“Above all, it compromises trust between groups at a time when, in an uncertain and changing world, it is all too easy to blame ‘the other’ for all our problems.”
Mr Umunna says the “task before us now is to design and deliver a meaningful integration programme which will work for all parts of the UK”.
• Read more in your Boston Standard on Wednesday.