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Third of people in the Southwest are racially prejudiced, claims survey

By Exeter Express and Echo  |  Posted: May 28, 2014

This table shows where the South West sits in terms of racial prejudice

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Almost a third of people in the Southwest are racially prejudiced, according to a new survey.

The British Social Attitudes Survey by social research company NatCen found that 30% of those polled described themselves as either "very" or "a little" race prejudiced.

The South West was in the top four for racial prejudice out of the 12 regions of the United Kingdom surveyed.

According to the survey, 31% in our region admit to being racially prejudiced.

It also found that the percentage had increased since the year 2000, and had returned to the same levels as were seen 30 years ago.

The chief executive of NatCen, Penny Young, said: “The findings are troubling. Levels of racial prejudice declined steadily throughout the nineties, but have been on the rise again during the first decade of this century.

“This bucks the trend of a more socially liberal and tolerant Britain. Our local and national leaders need to understand and respond to increased levels of racial prejudice if we are to build strong local communities.”

The areas least likely to self-describe as racially prejudiced are Inner London with 16% and the area most likely, the West Midlands, with 35%.

Levels of racial prejudice also rise with age, with 25% of 17-34 year olds, in comparison to 36% of over-55s.

Education had an impact, too, with 19% of those with a degree and 38% of those with no qualifications reporting racial prejudice.

Just over nine in 10 of those who admit to some level of racial prejudice would also like to see a reduction in the current level of immigration, in comparison to around seven in 10 who say that they’re not prejudiced at all.

This survey is an annual one and was first performed in 1983. People are asked if they would describe themselves as prejudiced "against people of other races".

Co-director of the survey, Alison Park, said: "Racial prejudice, in whatever guise, is undoubtedly still part of the national psyche."

But Sunder Katwala, director of the identity and integration think tank British Future, spoke to the BBC and pointed out that this survey was a "difficult measure to use".

"People who said they were not at all prejudiced in 1983 often held quite tough views about race", he said.

Today, younger people "hold themselves to a much higher bar" he added.

"It's quite a complicated way of doing it and not a good way to track things over time."

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