Jewish leaders have expressed concern over rising racism in Britain as revealed by a national survey released this week.
According to the British Social Attitudes (BSA) survey, the percentage of Britons who say they hold some form of prejudice against people of other races has increased overall from 25 per cent to 30 per cent since 2001.
Results showed that racial prejudice rose most dramatically in the north east, Scotland and Wales — where, in the last 13 years, it has gone up on average by 15 per cent. Yorkshire and Humberside held the highest number of people with such views, at 36 per cent, while inner London showed the sharpest decline in racial prejudice, from 20 per cent to 13 per cent.
The study also found that men were more prone to racism at 32 per cent, compared to 29 per cent of women surveyed; and unskilled workers were almost twice as likely to admit to being prejudiced than white-collar workers and professionals.
The data was obtained NatCen Social Research, after questioning 3,000 people from around the country.
Board of Deputies president Vivien Wineman said the results were disturbing. He said: “The fact that nearly a third of Britons admitted having some racist feelings is clearly a great worry. The UK is famous for its multiculturalism and mutual tolerance. It is vital that all groups in society speak up for the UK’s diversity, and enhance cohesiveness between all groups in the UK.”
Mark Gardner, communications director of the Community Security Trust, noted that the survey did not provide enough detail to reveal if respondents were “thinking about Jews when they admitted to having racist tendencies”.
He added: “Nevertheless, this provides useful context for analysing other recent surveys that were specifically about antisemitism in Britain and other countries.
“In particular, there were the ADL and Pew surveys in recent weeks and, most importantly, the Fundamental Rights Agency survey from late 2013.
“Combine these with things such as the National Crime Survey and you actually get quite a rich analysis of where antisemitism sits in context with racism and criminality.”
The survey showed that Conservative voters were almost twice as likely to admit to being prejudiced than those who supported Labour or the Liberal Democrats.
Shadow justice minister Sadiq Khan said: “This is clear evidence that we cannot be complacent about racial prejudice.”