Communities Secretary Sajid Javid today (14 March) set out an ambitious long-term plan of action create a stronger, more integrated Britain
The Integrated Communities Strategy green paper, to which £50 million will be committed over the next 2 years, seeks views on the government’s bold proposals to boost English language skills, increase opportunities for more women to enter the workplace, and promote British values and meaningful discussion between young people.
Communities Secretary Sajid Javid said: “Britain can rightly claim to be one of the most successful diverse societies in the world. But we cannot ignore the fact that in too many parts of our country, communities are divided, preventing people from taking full advantage of the opportunities that living in modern Britain offers.
“Successive governments have refused to deal with the integration challenges we face head-on, preferring to let people muddle along and live isolated and separated lives.
“We will put an end to this through our new strategy which will create a country that works for everyone, whatever their background and wherever they come from. Integration challenges are not uniform throughout the country, with different areas and communities having varying needs.”
The government will work with 5 ‘Integration Areas’ to develop local integration plans: Blackburn with Darwen; Bradford; Peterborough; Walsall and Waltham Forest.
The strategy sets out a range of actions the government plans to take to bring divided communities together, including:
Boosting English language skills
We are proposing a new strategy to promote adoption of the English language across all communities in England, including a new community-based English language programme, a new network of conversation clubs, and support for local authorities to improve the provision of English language tuition for those who need it most.
Increasing economic opportunity, particularly for women
Jobcentre Plus will trial new approaches to support people from some of the most isolated communities into work through personalised skills training to address their individual needs.
Ensure that every child receives an education that prepares them for life in modern Britain
New proposals to ensure young people have the opportunity to mix and form lasting relationships with those from different backgrounds, promotion of British Values across the curriculum and increased take-up of the national citizen service.
Building stronger leadership
The strategy calls on leaders in national and local government, business and civil society to ensure all services have a strong focus on integration.
Supporting recent migrants to integrate into the community
We will provide a package of practical information for recent migrants in our integration areas to better help them understand and navigate British life, values and culture. We will also improve communities’ ability to adapt to migration and manage pressures on local services and amenities in order to promote more effective integration.
Respecting and promoting equal rights
The strategy sets out new measures to empower marginalised women, including exploring reform of the law on marriage and religious weddings. We will support training of faith leaders to practice in the British context understanding British culture and shared values. We will also strengthen action to tackle hate crime and encourage greater reporting of incidents.
Building vibrant communities
An Integration Innovation Fund will be introduced to allow organisations to bid to test out new approaches to bring people from different backgrounds together and we will make better use of shared community spaces such as parks and libraries.
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